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Title: Tales from the Hindu Dramatists

Author: R. N. Dutta

Editor: J. S. Zemin

Release Date: April 29, 2006 [EBook #18285]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Justin Kerk, Janet Blenkinship and the Online
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  R. N. DUTTA, B.A., B.L.,

  _Late Officiating Head-Master, Metropolitan Institution,
  Bowbazar Branch, Calcutta;_


  J. S. ZEMIN,

  _Professor of English Literature, Bishop's College, and
  Central College, Calcutta;
  Late Principal, Doveton College, Calcutta;
  Hon. Fellow and Examiner, University of Calcutta_.

  B. BANERJEE & Co.,
  26, Cornwallis Street, and 54, College Street.


  [_All Rights Reserved._]                     Ans. 12.



  B. BANERJEE & Co.,
  25, Cornwallis Street, and 54, College Street.


  The Hon'ble Sir Justice


  C.S.I., M.A., D.L., D.S.C., F.R.A.S., F.R.S.E.

  _Vice-Chancellor of the University of




  as a sincere token of the esteem and admiration of the


  for his eminent services to the cause of the


| Transcriber's Note: There are some inconsistencies in spelling and|
|punctuation which have been left as the original.                  |


Many educationists think that our Indian boys should be encouraged to
read the stories of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the two great
Epics of India and Tales from the Sanskrit Dramatists when they are
recommended to read "The Boy's Odyssey," "Legends of Greece and Rome,"
"Arabian Nights' Tales" and Lamb's "Tales from Shakespeare." It was
perhaps from this view of the matter that the University of Calcutta
recommended "The Boy's Ramayana" and "Tales from the Hindu Dramatists"
for the Matriculation Examination. As no books were published in time,
the University had to issue an amended notice omitting the books from
the list. To supply the want, I have ventured to write the "Boy's
Ramayana" and this humble book. I have tried my best to narrate briefly,
in simple and idiomatic English, the stories on which the chief Sanskrit
dramas are based. I hope that the University will be pleased to
re-insert "The Boy's Ramayana" and this book in the list of books
recommended for the Matriculation Examination.

  BALARAMADHAM,            }
  4, Madan Mitter's Lane,  } RAMA NATH DUTT.
  Calcutta                 }
  _1911--December._        }





In ancient days, there was a mighty king of the Lunar dynasty by name
Dushyanta. He was the king of Hastinapur. He once goes out a-hunting and
in the pursuit of a deer comes near the hermitage of the sage Kanwa, the
chief of the hermits, where some anchorites request him not to kill the
deer. The king feels thirsty and was seeking water when he saw certain
maidens of the hermits watering the favourite plants. One of them, an
exquisitely beautiful and bashful maiden, named Sakuntala, received him.
She was the daughter of the celestial nymph Menaka by the celebrated
sage Viswamitra and foster-child of the hermit Kanwa. She is smitten
with love at the first sight of the king, standing confused at the
change of her own feeling. The love at first sight which the king
conceives for her is of too deep a nature to be momentary. Struck by her
beauty he exclaims:--

"Her lip is ruddy as an opening bud; her graceful arms resemble tender
shoots; attractive as the bloom upon the tree, the glow of youth is
spread on all her limbs."

Seizing an opportunity of addressing her, he soon feels that it is
impossible for him to return to his capital. His limbs move forward,
while his heart flies back, like a silken standard borne against the
breeze. He seeks for opportunities for seeing her. With the thought
about her haunting him by day and night, he finds no rest, and no
pleasure even in his favourite recreation--sporting. Mathavya, the
jester, friend and companion of the king, however, breaks the dull
monotony of his anxious time. The opportunity which the king seeks
offers itself. The hermits send an embassy to the king asking him to
come over to the hermitage to guard their sacrifices. As he was making
preparations for departure to the hermitage, Karavaka, a messenger from
the queen-mother, arrives asking his presence at the city of Hastinapur.

He is at first at a loss to extricate himself from this difficulty but a
thought strikes him and he acts upon it. He sends the jester as his
substitute to the city. He is now at leisure to seek out the love-sick
Sakuntala who is drooping on account of her love for the king and is
discovered lying on a bed of flowers in an arbour. He comes to the
hermitage, overhears her conversation with her two friends, shows
himself and offers to wed her. For a second time, the lovers thus meet.
He enquires of her parentage to see if there is any obstacle to their
being united in marriage; whereupon Sakuntala asks her companion
Priyambada to satisfy the king with an account of her birth. The king
hearing the story of her birth asks the companion to get the consent of
Sakuntala to be married to him according to the form known as

Sakuntala requests the king to wait till her foster-father Kanwa, who
had gone out on a pilgrimage, would come back and give his consent. But
the king, becoming importunate, she at last gives her consent. They are
married according to the _gandharva_ form, on the condition that the
issue of the marriage should occupy the throne of Hastinapur. She
accepts from her lord a marriage-ring as the token of recognition.

The king then goes away, after having promised to shortly send his
ministers and army to escort her to his Capital. When Kanwa returns to
the hermitage, he becomes aware of what has transpired during his
absence by his spiritual powers, and congratulates Sakuntala on having
chosen a husband worthy of her in every respect. Next day, when
Sakuntala is deeply absorbed in thoughts about her absent lord, the
celebrated choleric sage Durvasa comes and demands the rights of
hospitality. But he is not greeted with due courtesy by Sakuntala owing
to her pre-occupied state. Upon this, the ascetic pronounces a curse
that he whose thought has led her to forget her duties towards guests,
would disown her.

Sakuntala does not hear it, but Priyambada hears it and by entreaties
appeases the wrath of the sage, who being conciliated ordains that the
curse would cease at the sight of some ornament of recognition.

Sakuntala becomes quick with child and in the seventh month of her
pregnancy is sent by her foster-father to Hastinapur, in the company of
her sister Gautami, and his two disciples Sarngarva and Saradwata.
Priyambada stays in the hermitage. Sakuntala takes leave of the sacred
grove in which she has been brought up, of her flowers, her gazelles and
her friends.

The aged hermit of the grove thus expresses his feelings at the
approaching loss of Sakuntala:--

"My heart is touched with sadness at the thought, "Sakuntala must go
to-day"; my throat is choked with flow of tears repressed; my sight is
dimmed with pensiveness but if the grief of an old forest hermit is so
great, how keen must be the pang a father feels when freshly parted from
a cherished child!"

Then he calls upon the trees to give her a kindly farewell. They answer
with the Kokila's melodious cry.

Thereupon the following good wishes are uttered by voices in the air:--

"Thy journey be auspicious; may the breeze, gentle and soothing, fan the
cheek; may lakes, all bright with lily cups, delight thine eyes; the
sun-beam's heat be cooled by shady trees; the dust beneath thy feet be
the pollen of lotuses."

On their way, Sakuntala and her companions bathe in the Prachi
Saraswati, when, as Fate would have it, she carelessly drops the ring of
recognition into the river, being unaware of the fact at the time. At
last they arrive at Hastinapur, and send words to the king.

The king asks his family priest Somarata to enquire of them the cause of
their coming. Whereupon the priest meets them at the gate, knows the
objects of their coming and informs the king of it. The curse of Durvasa
does its work. The king denies Sakuntala. At the intercession of the
priest, she and her companions are brought before the king. The king
publicly repudiates her. As a last resource, Sakuntala bethinks herself
of the ring given her by her husband, but on discovering that it is
lost, abandons hope. Sarnagarva sharply remonstrates against the conduct
of the king and presses the claim of Sakuntala.

Gentle and meek as Sakuntala is, she undauntedly gives vent to her moral
indignation against the king. The disciples go away saying that the king
would have to repent of it.

Sakuntala falls senseless on the ground. After a while, she revives, the
priest then comes forward and asks the king to allow her to stay in his
palace till her delivery. The king consents, and when Sakuntala is
following the priest, Menaka with her irradiant form appears and taking
hold of her daughter vanishes and goes to a celestial asylum. Everyone
present there is astonished and frightened.

After this incident, one day while the king is out on inspection, a
certain fisherman, charged with the theft of the royal signet-ring which
he professes to have found inside a fish, is dragged along by constables
before the king who, however, causes the poor accused to be set free,
rewarding him handsomely for his find.

Recollection of his former love now returns to him. His strong and
passionate love for Sakuntala surges upon him with doubled and

Indulging in sorrow at his repudiation of Sakuntala, the king passes
three long years; at the end of which Matali, Indra's charioteer,
appears to ask the king's aid in vanquishing the demons. He makes his
aerial voyage in Indra's car. While he is coming back from the realm of
Indra, he alights on the hermitage of Maricha.

Here he sees a young boy tormenting a lion-whelp. Taking his hand,
without knowing him to be his own son, he exclaims:--"If now the touch
of but a stranger's child thus sends a thrill of joy through all my
limbs, what transports must be awakened in the soul of that blest father
from whose loins he sprang!"

From the vaunting speeches of the boy, the king gathers that the boy is
a scion of the race of Puru. His heart everflows with affection for him.
A collection of circumstantial evidence points the boy to be his son.
The amulet on the boy indicates his parentage.

But while he is in a doubtful mood as to the parentage of the refractory
boy, he meets the sage Maricha from whom he learns everything. The name
of the boy is Sarvadamana, afterwards known as Bharata, the most famous
king of the Lunar race, whose authority is said to have extended over a
great part of India, and from whom India is to this day called Bharata
or Bharatavarsa (the country or domain of Bharata.)

Soon after, he finds and recognises Sakuntala, with whom he is at length
happily re-united.




In the Himalaya mountains, the nymphs of heaven, on returning from an
assembly of the gods, are mourning over the loss of Urvasi, a
fellow-nymph, who has been carried off by a demon. King Pururavas enters
on his chariot, and on hearing the cause of their grief, hastens to the
rescue of the nymph. He soon returns, after having vanquished the
robber, and restores Urvasi to her heavenly companions. While carrying
the nymph back to her friends in his chariot, he is enraptured by her
beauty, falls in love with her and she with her deliverer. Urvasi being
summoned before the throne of Indra, the lovers are soon obliged to
part. When they part, Urvasi wishes to turn round once more to see the

She pretends that a straggling vine has caught her garland, and while
feigning to disengage herself, she calls one of her friends to help her.

The friend replies:--

"I fear, this is no easy task. You seem entangled too fast to be set
free: but, come what may, defend upon my friendship." The eyes of the
king then meet those of Urvasi. They now part.

The king is now at Prayag, the modern Allahabad, his residence. He walks
in the garden of his palace, accompanied by a Brahman who is his
confidential companion, and knows his love for Urvasi. The companion is
so afraid of betraying what must remain a secret to everybody at court,
and in particular to the queen, that he hides himself in a retired
temple. There a female servant of the queen discovers him, and 'as a
secret can no more rest in his breast than morning dew upon the grass,'
she soon finds out from him why the king is so changed, since his return
from the battle with the demon, and carries the tale to the queen. In
the meantime, the king is in despair, and pours out his grief. Urvasi
also is sighing for him. She suddenly descends with her friend through
the air to meet him.

Both are at first invisible to him, and listen to his confession of

Then Urvasi writes a verse on a birch-leaf, and lets it fall near the
bower where her beloved reclines.

Next, her friend becomes visible, and at last, Urvasi herself is
introduced to the king. After a few moments, however, both Urvasi and
her friend are called back by a messenger of the gods, and the king is
left alone with his jester. He looks for the leaf on which Urvasi had
first disclosed her love, but it is lost, carried away by the wind. But
worse than this the leaf is picked up by the queen, who comes to look
for the king in the garden. The queen severely upbraids her husband,
and, after a while, goes off in a hurry, like a river in the rainy

When Urvasi was recalled to Indra's heaven, she had to act before Indra
the part of the goddess of beauty, who selects Vishnu for her husband.
One of the names of Vishnu is Purushottama.

Poor Urvasi, when called upon to confess on whom her heart was set,
forgetting the part she had to act, says "I love Pururavas," instead of
"I love Purushottama."

Her teacher Bharata, the author of the play, is so much exasperated by
this mistake, that he pronounces a curse upon Urvasi. "You must lose
your divine knowledge." After the close of the performance, Indra,
observing her as she stood apart, ashamed and disconsolate, calls her
and says:--

"The mortal, who engrosses your thoughts, has been my friend in the days
of adversity; he has helped me in the conflict with the enemies of the
gods, and is entitled to my acknowledgements. You must, accordingly,
repair to him and remain with him till he beholds the offspring you
shall bear him." The god thus permits her to marry the mortal hero.

After transacting public business, the king retires to the garden of the
palace as the evening approaches. A messenger arrives from the queen,
apprising his Majesty that she desires to see him on the terrace of the
pavilion. The king obeys and ascends the crystal steps while the moon is
just about to rise, and the east is tinged with red.

As he is waiting for the queen, his desire for Urvasi is awakened again.
On a sudden, Urvasi enters on a heavenly car, accompanied by his friend.
They are invisible to the king as on the previous occasion. The moment
that Urvasi is about to withdraw her veil, the queen appears. She is
dressed in white, without any ornaments, and comes to propitiate her
husband, by taking a vow.

Then she, calling upon the god of the moon, performs her solemn vow and

Urvasi, who is present, though in an invisible state, during this scene
of matrimonial reconciliation, now advances behind the king and covers
his eyes with her hands. The king says:--

"It must be Urvasi; no other hand could shed such ecstasy through my
emaciated frame. The solar rays do not wake the night's fair blossom;
that alone expands when conscious of the moon's dear presence."

She takes the resignation of the queen in good earnest and claims the
king as granted her by right. Her friend takes leave and she now remains
with the king as his beloved wife in the groves of a forest.

Subsequently the lovers are wandering near Kailasa, the divine mountain,
when Urvasi, in a fit of jealousy, enters the grove of Kumara, the god
of war, which is forbidden to all females. In consequence of Bharat's
curse she is instantly metamorphosed into a creeper. The king beside
himself with grief at her loss, seeks her everywhere. The nymphs in a
chorus deplore her fate. Mournful strains are heard in the air.

The king enters a wild forest, his features express insanity, his dress
is disordered. Clouds gather overhead. He rushes frantically after a
cloud which he mistakes for a demon that carried away his bride.

He addresses various birds and asks them whether they have seen his
love,--the peacock, 'the bird of the dark-blue throat and eyes of
jet,'--the cuckoo, 'whom lovers deem Love's messenger,'--the swans, 'who
are sailing northward, and whose elegant gait betrays that they have
seen her,'--the chakravaka, 'a bird who, during the night, is himself
separated from his mate,'--but none responds. He apostrophises various
insects, beasts and even a mountain peak to tell him where she is.

Neither the bees which murmur amidst the petals of the lotus, nor the
royal elephant, that reclines with his mate under the Kadamba tree, has
seen the lost one.

At last he thinks he sees her in the mountain stream:--

"The rippling wave is like her frown; the row of tossing birds her
girdle; streaks of foam, her fluttering garment as she speeds along; the
current, her devious and stumbling gait. It is she turned in her wrath
into a stream."

At last the king finds a gem of ruddy radiance. He holds it in his
hands, and embraces the vine which is now transformed into Urvasi. Thus
is she restored to her proper form, through the mighty spell of the
magical gem. The efficacious gem is placed on her forehead. The king
recovers his reason. They are thus happily re-united and return to

Several years elapse. An unlucky incident now comes to pass. A hawk
bears away the ruby of re-union. Orders are sent to shoot the bird, and,
after a short while, a forester brings the jewel and the arrow by which
the hawk was killed. An inscription on the shaft shows that its owner is
Ayus. A female ascetic enters, leading a boy with a bow in hand.

The boy is Ayus, the son of Urvasi, whom his mother confided to the
female ascetic who generously brought him up in the forest and now;
sends him back to his mother. The king who was not aware that Urvasi
had ever borne him a son, now recognises Ayus as his son. Urvasi also
comes to embrace her boy. She now suddenly bursts into tears and tells
the king:--

"Indra decreed that I am to be recalled to heaven when you see our son.
This induced me to conceal from you so long the birth of the child. Now
that you have accidentally seen the child, I shall have to return to
heaven, in compliance with the decree of Indra."

She now prepares to leave her husband after she has seen her boy
installed as associate king. So preparations are made for the
inauguration ceremony when Narada the messenger of Indra, comes to
announce that the god has compassionately revoked the decree. The nymph
is thus permitted to remain on earth for good as the hero's second wife.

Nymphs descend from heaven with a golden vase containing the water of
the heavenly Ganges, a throne, and other paraphernalia, which they
arrange. The prince is inaugurated as Yuvaraj. All now go together to
pay their homage to the queen, who had so generously resigned her rights
in favour of Urvasi.




We learn a wise sentiment from the prologue. The stage-manager,
addressing the audience, says:--"All that is old is not, on that
account, worthy of praise, nor is a novelty, by reason of its newness,
to be censured. The wise do not decide what is good or bad till they
have tested merit for themselves: a foolish man trusts to another's

Puspamitra was the founder of the Sunga dynasty of Magadha kings, having
been the general of Vrihadratha, the last of the Maurya race, whom he
deposed and put to death: he was succeeded by his son Agnimitra who
reigned at Vidica (Bhilsa) in the second century B.C. King Agnimitra has
two queens Dharini and Iravati. Malavika belongs to the train of his
queen Dharini's attendants. The maid was sent as a present to the queen
by her brother, Virsena, governor of the Antapala or barrier-fortress on
the Nermada.

The queen jealously keeps her out of the king's sight on account of her
great beauty. The king, however, accidentally sees the picture of
Malavika, painted by order of the queen for her _chitrasala_, or
picture-gallery. The sight of the picture inspires the king with an
ardent desire to view the original, whom he has never yet beheld.

Hostilities are about to break out between Agnimitra and Yajnasena, king
of Viderbha (Berar). The first, on one occasion, had detained captive
the brother-in-law of the latter, and Yajnasena had retaliated by
throwing into captivity Madhavasena, the personal friend of Agnimitra,
when about to repair to Vidisa to visit that monarch. Yajnasena sends to
propose an exchange of prisoners, but Agnimitra haughtily rejects the
stipulation, and sends orders to his brother-in-law, Virasena, to lead
an army immediately against the Raja of Viderbha. This affair being
disposed of, he directs his attention to domestic interests, and employs
his Vidushaka or confidant, Gotama, to procure him the sight of
Malavika. To effect this, Gotama instigates a quarrel between the
professors, Ganadas and Haradatta, regarding their respective

They appeal to the Raja, who, in consideration of Ganadasa's being
patronised by the queen, refers the dispute to her. She is induced to
consent reluctantly to preside at a trial of skill between the parties,
as shown in the respective proficiency of their select scholars. The
queen is assisted by a protegé, a _Parivrajaka_, or female ascetic and
woman of superior learning.

The party assembles in the chamber where the performance is to take
place, fitted up with the _Sangitarachana_, or orchestral decorations.
The king's object is attained, for Ganadasa brings forward Malavika as
the pupil on whom he stakes his credit. Malavika sings an _Upanga_ or
prelude, and then executes an air of extraordinary difficulty.
Malavika's performance is highly applauded, and, of course, captivates
the king and destroys his peace of mind; the Vidushaka detains her
until the queen, who has all along suspected the plot, commands her to
retire. The warder cries the hour of noon, on which the party breaks up,
and the queen, with more housewifery than majesty, hastens away to
expedite her royal husband's dinner.

There stands an _asoka_ tree in the garden. The Hindus believe that this
tree, when barren, may be induced to put forth flowers by the contact of
the foot of a handsome woman. The tree in question does not blossom, and
being the favourite of Dharini, she has proposed to try the effect of
her own foot. Unluckily however, the Vidhushaka, whilst setting her
swing in motion, has tumbled her out of it and the fall has sprained her
ankle, so that she cannot perform the ceremony herself: she therefore
deputes Malavika to do it for her, who accordingly comes to the spot
attired in royal habiliments, and accompanied by her friend Vakulavali.
In the conversation that ensues, she acknowledges her passion for the
king, who with his friend Gotama has been watching behind the tree, and
overhears the declaration; he therefore makes his appearance and
addresses a civil speech, to Malavika when he is interrupted by another
pair of listeners, Iravati and her attendant. She commands Malavika's
retreat, and leaves the king, in a violent rage, to inform Dharini of
what is going forward. The King never behaves as a despot but always
with much consideration for the feelings of his spouses.

The Vidushaka now informs the king that Malavika has been locked in the
_Sarabhandagriha_ or the store or treasure room by the queen. The room
was no enviable place, as the Vidusaka compares it to Patala, the
infernal regions. He undertakes, however, to effect her liberation; and
whilst he prepares for his scheme, the Raja pays a visit to the queen.

Whilst the Raja is engaged in tranquil conversation with Dharini, and
the parivrajaka, the vidushaka rushes in, exclaiming he has been beaten
by a venomous snake, whilst gathering flowers to bring with him as a
present on his visit to the queen, and he exhibits his thumb bound with
his cord, and marked with the impressions made by the teeth of the
reptile. The parivrajaka, with some humour as well as good surgery,
recommends the actual cautery, or the amputation of the thumb; but the
vidushaka pretending to be in convulsions and dying, the snake-doctor is
sent for, who having had his clue refuses to come, and desires the
patient may be sent to him: the vidushaka is accordingly sent. The queen
is in great alarm, as being, however innocently, the cause of a
Brahman's death. Presently the messenger returns, stating that the only
hope is the application of the snake-stone to the bite, and requesting
the Raja to order one to be procured: the queen has one in her
finger-ring, which she instantly takes off and sends to the vidushaka.
This is his object, for the female jailor of Malavika has, as he has
ascertained, been instructed to liberate her prisoner only on being
shown the seal ring or signet of the queen, and having got this in his
possession, he immediately effects the damsel's release, after which the
ring is returned to the queen, and the Vidushaka is perfectly recovered.

The king then being summoned away by a concerted pretext, hastens to
the Samudra pavilion, where Malavika has been conveyed with her friend
and companion, Vakulavali. This pavilion is decorated with portraits of
the king and his queens, and Malavika is found by her lover engrossed
with their contemplation. Vakulavali retires. The Vidushaka takes charge
of the door, but he no sooner sits down on the threshold than he falls
asleep. The Raja and Malavika, consequently, have scarcely time to
exchange professions of regard, when they are again disturbed by the
vigilant and jealous Iravati, who sends information of her discoveries
to Dharini, and in the meantime remains sentinel over the culprits. The
party, however, is disturbed by news, that Agnimitra's daughter has been
almost frightened to death by a monkey, and Iravati and the Raja hasten
to her assistance, leaving Malavika to the consolation derived from
hearing that the _Asoka_ tree is in blossom, an omen of the final
success of her own desires.

The Raja, Dharini and the Parivrajaka, with Malavika and other
attendants, gather about the _Asoka_ tree, when some presents arrive
from the now submissive monarch of Viderbha, against whom the troops of
Virashena have been successful. Amongst the gifts are two female slaves,
who immediately recognize in Malavika the sister of Madhavasena, the
friend of Agnimitra, whom the armies of the latter have just extricated
from the captivity to which the Viderbha sovereign had consigned him. It
appears that when he was formerly seized by his kinsman, his minister,
Sumati, contrived to effect his own escape, along with his sister and
the young princess. That sister, Kausika, now reveals herself in the
person of the Parivrajaka, and continues the story of their flight.
Sumati joined a caravan bound to Vidisa On their way to the Vindhya
mountains, they were attacked by the foresters, who were armed with bows
and arrows, and decorated with peacock's plumes: in the affray Sumati
was slain and Malavika was lost.

Kausika, left alone, committed her brother's body to the flames, and
then resumed her route to Vidisa, where she assumed the character of a
female ascetic The Raja observes she did wisely. Kausika soon found out
Malavika, but forebore to discover herself, confiding in the prophecy of
a sage, who had foretold that the princess, after passing through a
period of servitude, would meet with a suitable match.

It thus finally turns out that Malavika is by birth a princess, who had
only come to be an attendant at Agnimitra's court through having fallen
into the hands of robbers.

The king issues his orders respecting the terms to be granted to
Yajnasena, the king of Viderbha, the half of whose territory he assigns
to Madhavasena, the brother of Malavika.

A letter arrives from the general Pushpamitra, giving an account of some
transactions that have occurred upon the southern bank of the Indus.

On his own behalf, or that of his son, he had undertaken to celebrate an
_aswamedha_, or horse-sacrifice, for which it was essential that the
steed should have a free range for twelve months, being attended only by
a guard to secure him. This guard had been placed by Pushpamitra under
the command of Agnimitra's son, Vasumitra. Whilst following the victim
along the Indus, a party of Yavana horse attempted to carry off the
courser, but they were encountered by the young prince, and after a
sharp conflict, defeated.

Pushpamitra concludes with inviting his son to come with his family to
complete the sacrifice.

The queen, Dharini, overjoyed with the news of her son's success and
safety, distributes rich presents to all her train and the females of
Agnimitra's establishment, whilst to him she presents Malavika. Iravati
communicates her concurrence in this arrangement, and the Raja obtains a
bride, whom his queens accept as their sister. The difficulty of
conciliating his queens is thus removed. The king now marries Malavika
and all ends happily.




Dasaratha, the king of Ayodhya (Oudh), is the father of four sons Rama,
Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna. Rama and Lakshmana visit Viswamitra's
hermitage. Kusadhwaja, the king of Sankasya and the brother of Janaka,
the king of Mithila, accompanied by his two nieces, Sita and Urmila,
enters the hermitage of Viswamitra on the borders of the Kausiki (Cosi),
having been invited by the sage to his sacrifice. He is met by the sage
with the two youths Rama and Lakshmana, and the young couples become
mutually enamoured. Meanwhile Ahalya--the cursed wife of Gautama--gets
cleared of her guilt through the purifying influence of Rama.

A messenger from Ravana, the demon king of Lanka, arrives, who has
followed them from Mithila, and comes to demand Sita as a wife for his

They are further disturbed by Taraka, a female fiend, the daughter of
Suketu, wife of Sunda and mother of Maricha. Rama, by command of
Viswamitra slays her. Viswamitra is exceedingly pleased with the deed
and invokes and gives to Rama the heavenly weapons with all their
secrets of discharge and dissolution. The sage recommends Kusadhwaja to
invite the bow of Siva for Rama's present trial, and consequent
obtaining of Sita. The bow arrives, self-conveyed, being, as the weapon
of so great a deity, pregnant with intelligence. Rama snaps it asunder,
in consequence of which feat it is agreed that Sita shall be wedded to
him; Urmila her sister, to Lakshmana; and Mandavi and Srutakirti, the
daughters of Kusadhwaja, to Bharata and Satrughna respectively. The
party is again disturbed by Suvahu and Maricha, the first of whom is
killed and the second, thrown at a distance by Rama.

The messenger of Ravana then goes away mortified to represent the matter
to the minister of Ravana. The saint and his visitors then retire into
the hermitage.

Malyavan, the minister and maternal grandfather of Ravana and the king's
sister Surpanakha have heard the news of Rama's wedding with Sita from
Siddhasrama and discuss the consequences with some apprehension. The
minister takes the marriage as an insult to his master.

A letter arrives from Parasurama partly requesting and partly commanding
Ravana to call off some of his imps, who are molesting the sages in
Dandakaranya. He writes from Mahendra Dwipa.

Malyavan takes advantage of this opportunity to instigate a quarrel
between the two Ramas, anticipating that Parasurama, who is the pupil of
Siva, will be highly incensed when he hears of Rama's breaking the bow
of that divinity. The hero comes to Videha, the palace of Janaka, to
defy the insulter of his god and preceptor. He enters the interior of
the palace, the guards and attendants being afraid to stop him, and
calls upon Rama to show himself. The young hero is proud of Parasurama's
seeking him and anxious for the encounter but detained awhile by Sita's
terrors: at last the heroes meet. Parasurama alludes to his own history
how he, having overcome his fellow-pupil, Kartikeya, in a battle-axe
fight, received his axe from his preceptor, Siva, as the prize of his

Parasurama addresses Rama thus:--

"How dost thou presume to bend thy brow in frowns on me? Thou must be an
audacious boy, a scion of the vile Kshatriya race. Thy tender years and
newly wedded bride teach me a weakness I am not wont to feel.

Throughout the world the story runs, I, Rama, and the son of Jamadgni,
struck off a mother's head with remorseless arm. This vengeful axe has
one and twenty times destroyed the Kshatriya race, not sparing in its
wrath the unborn babe hewn piecemeal in the parent womb.

It was thus I slaked the fires of a wronged father's wrath with blood,
whose torrents, drawn unsparingly from martial veins, fed the vast
reservoir in which I love to bathe."

Rama replies thus:--

"Give over thy vaunts--I hold thy cruelty a crime, not virtue."

The combat between the two Ramas is suspended by the arrival of Janaka
and Satananda, and Rama's being summoned to attend the Kanchana Mochana,
the loosening of Sita's golden bracelet.

Parasurama awaits Ramachandra's return. He is accosted in succession by
Vasishtha, Viswamitra, Satananda, Janaka and Dasaratha, who first
endeavour to soothe and then to terrify him; but he outbullies them all:
at last Ramachandra returns from the string-removing ceremony and is
heard calling on Parasurama, and the combat ensues. Ramachandra comes
out victorious.

The two kings Janaka and Dasaratha congratulate each other on the
victory of Ramachandra. Parasurama is now as humble as he was before
arrogant: he calls upon the earth to hide his shame. Whilst Rama regrets
Bhargava's departure, Surpanakha, disguised as Manthara, the favourite
of Kaikeyi, Dasaratha's second wife, arrives with a letter to Rama,
requesting him to use his influence with his father to secure Kaikeyi
the two boons which Dasaratha was pledged to grant her; specifying one
to be her son Bharata's inauguration, and the other, assent to Rama's
voluntary exile. In the meantime, Dasaratha, who has determined to raise
Rama to the participation of regal dignity, communicates his intention
to his son. Rama replies by informing him of Kaikeyi's message, and is
earnest with his father to accede to her request.

Bharata and his maternal uncle Yuddhajit arrive, and ask Dasaratha to
crown Rama and all are full of wonder and concern: however, as there is
no help for it, Dasaratha consents and orders preparations for the

Lakshmana and Sita are alone to accompany Rama, on which her father
Janaka exclaims, "My child, what happiness it will be to wait upon thy
husband in the hour of trouble, permitted to partake and cheer his
wanderings!" Bharata requests permission to go with them, but Rama
refuses his assent; on which his brother begs his golden shoes of him,
promising to instal them in the kingdom, and rule thereafter as their
representative. The seniors are led out in deep despondency, and Rama
with his brother and wife set off to the woods.

A dialogue opens between the two birds, Jatayu and Sampati, the
vulture-descendants of Kasyapa, who have seen successive creations. They
relate Rama's progress towards the south; and Sampati, the elder leaves
his brother Jatayu, with strict injunctions to assist Rama, if needed.
He then goes to the ocean to perform daily duties and Jatayu to Malaya.
Jatayu perches on the mountain and marks the hero Rama in pursuit of the
swift deer. Lakshmana directs his remote course thither. A holy seer
approaches the bower and the dame gives him meet welcome. His form

It is he, the felon Ravana--his train crowd from the groves; he seizes
upon Sita--he mounts the car. Jatayu cries shame on his birth and
threatens to rend his limbs and revel in his gore. Jatayu is, however,
killed in the conflict. Rama raves with indignation. The brothers set
off in pursuit of the ravisher, when Sramana, a female devotee sent by
Vibhishana to Rama, calls for succour being seized by Kabandha, a
headless fiend. Rama sends Lakshmana to her rescue; he goes off to kill
the demon and returns with the dame. She gives Rama a note from
Vibhishana praying for his refuge. Rama asks Lakshmana what reply to be
sent to (his) "dear friend--lord of Lanka" and Lakshman replies that
those words are sufficient.

(Two promises are implied--first contraction of friendship and secondly
bestowal of the Kingdom of Lanka.)

Rama, learning from the devotee that Vibhishana is with Sugriva,
Hanuman, and other monkey chiefs at Rishyamuka, and that the monkeys
have picked up Sita's ornaments and upper garments in the forest,
determines to go to them. Kabandha then appears, to thank Rama for
killing him, being thereby liberated from a curse and restored to a
divine condition.

They then set off to Rishyamuka, the residence of Bali, watered by the
Pampa. In the way Rama performs a miracle by kicking away the skeleton
of a giant.

When the brothers arrive at the mountain, Bali appears like a cloud upon
its peak and, being instigated by his friend Malyavan, resolves to
oppose Rama. The heroes meet and, after exchange of civilities, go to
the conflict.

The noise brings Vibhishana, Sugriva, and all the monkey chiefs to the
place. Bali is overthrown and mortally wounded. He recommends the
Monkeys to choose Sugriva and his own son Angada for their joint
sovereigns, and mediates an alliance between Rama and them, as well as
with Vibhishana. Rama and Sugriva pledge themselves to eternal
friendship, over the sacrificial fire in Matanga's hermitage which stood
close by. Bali then repeats his request to the monkey chiefs, as they
were attached to him, to acknowledge Sugriva and Angada as their joint
leaders, and to follow them in aid of Rama against Ravana in the ensuing
contest: he then dies.

Malyavan laments over these miscarriages. Trijata, a Rakshasi, adds to
his despondency by news of the mischief inflicted by Hanumana, who has
burnt the town of Lanka and slain a son of Ravana. He goes off to set
guards, and gather news by means of spies.

Ravana meditates on his love. His queen Mahodhari comes to bring him
tidings of Rama's approach, but he only laughs at her. She tells him of
the bridge made by Rama: he replies, if all the mountains of the earth
were cast into the ocean, they would not furnish footing to cross it.
His incredulity is terminated by a general alarm, and the appearance of
Prahasta, his general, to announce that Lanka is invested. Angada comes
as envoy from Rama, to command Ravana to restore Sita and prostrate
himself and his family at the feet of Lakshmana. Ravana, enraged, orders
some contumely or punishment to be inflicted upon him. He orders him to
be shaved. Angada puffs his hair out with rage. The monkey tells Ravana,
if he were not an ambassador, he would tear off his ten heads, and he
then springs away; the tumult increases, and Ravana goes forth to the
combat. Indra and Chiraratha then come to see the battle from the air.

All the chiefs of the two parties engage in promiscuous war. The
Rakshasas have the worst, but Ravana, with his brother Kumbhakarna and
his son Meghanada, turns the tide: the monkeys fly, leaving Rama almost
unsupported. Lakshmana attacks Meghanada: Ravana quits Rama to assist
his son.

The "serpent band" of Meghnada is dispersed by the "eagle-king-weapon"
of Lakshmana. The forces of Kumbhakarna are reduced to ashes with a
fire-weapon by Rama. Rama kills Kumbhakarna, and then goes to the aid of
Lakshmana; the whole of Rama's party are then overwhelmed with magical
weapons, hurled invisibly by Ravana upon them, and fall senseless. While
Ravana seeks to restore Kumbhakarna, Hanuman, reviving, goes to fetch
_amrita_, and tearing up the mountain that contains it, returns to the
field: his very approach restores Lakshmana, who jumps up with increased
animation, like a serpent starting from his shrivelled skin or the sun
bursting from clouds. So Raghu's youngest hope, restored by heavenly
herbs, burns with more than wonted ardour, wonders a moment what has
chanced and then, all on fire for glory, rushes to the fight. Rama also
revives, and instigated by the sages, exerts his celestial energies, by
which the daitya, Ravana, and his host speedily perish. Rama is
victorious, and Sita is recovered.

Vibhishana is now crowned king of Lanka. Alaka, a tutelary deity, comes.
Lanka, another tutelary deity, is consoled by Alaka.

Sita passes the fiery ordeal in triumph. The gods cheer her.

Rama, accompainied by Sita, Lakshmana, Vibhishana and Sugriva, then
enters the aerial car Pushpaka which was once wrested from Kuvera by
Ravana, and which is now placed at the disposal of Rama by Vibhishana.
The car transports them from Ceylon all the way to Ayodhya. One or other
of the party points out the places over which they fly viz. the _Setu_
or bridge of Rama the Malaya mountain, the Kaveri river, the hermitage
of Agastya, the Pampa river, the residence of Bali and of Jatayu, the
limits of the Dandaka forest, the Sahya or Sailadri mountains and the
boundaries of Aryavarta.

They then rise and travel through the upper air, approaching near the
sun, and are met and eulogized by a _Kinnara_ and his bride; they then
come to the peaks of the Himalaya, and descend upon Tapavana, whence
they go towards Ayodhya, where Rama is welcomed by his brothers Bharata
and Satrughna, their mothers, Vasistha and Viswamitra.

The four brothers embrace one another. Rama is now consecrated king by
Vasishtha and Viswamitra.




Rama, when duly crowned at Ayodhya, enters upon a life of quiet
enjoyment with his wife Sita. The love of Rama and Sita, purified by
sorrow during the late exile, is most tender.

After a stay of a few days at Ayodhya, Janaka, the father of Sita, goes
back to his country Mithila. Rama consoles his queen for her father's
absence. The sage Ashtavakra comes in and delivers a message to Rama
from his spiritual preceptors to satisfy the wishes of Sita and please
his people. Then the sage goes away.

The family priest Vasishtha, having to leave the capital for a time to
assist at a sacrifice, utters a few words of parting advice to Rama,

"Remember that a king's real glory consists in his people's welfare."

Rama replies: "I am ready to give up everything, happiness, love,
pity--even Sita herself--if needful for my subjects' good."

In accordance with this promise, he employs an emissary named Durmukha
to ascertain the popular opinion as to his own treatment of his

Lakshmana now asks Rama and Sita to come out and see their early history
drawn on the terrace of the palace. They move about and the different
parts of the picture are shown to Sita, when the eyes of Sita turn on
the 'yawn-producing' weapons. Rama asks her to salute them so that they
would attend also on her children. Sita then feels tired and lays her
head on the arm of her husband and sleeps.

Then Durmukha, who, as an old and trusted servant, had free admission to
the inner apartments, comes and whispers to him that people condemn his
receiving back a queen, abducted by a fiend, after her long residence in
a stranger's house. In short, he is told that they still gossip and talk
scandal about her and Ravana. The scrupulously correct and
over-sensitive Rama, though convinced of his wife's fidelity after her
submission to the fiery ordeal, and though she is now likely to become a
mother, feels himself quite unable to allow the slightest cause of
offence to continue among his subjects.

He has no other resource. People must be satisfied. He orders his dear
Sita's exile, and the messenger goes away to deliver the order to
Lakshmana to seclude her somewhere in the woods. He is torn by
contending feelings. He is overpowered with grief, withdraws his arm
from his sleeping wife and pours forth pathetic lamentation. Then he
takes up her feet and cries when the announcement of the arrival of
frightened Rishis makes him go out to send Satrughna to their succour.
The messenger Durmukha then enters and takes Sita unsuspectingly to
mount the chariot which is to lead her to exile.

Lakshmana takes Sita to the forest and leaves her there.

She is protected by divine agencies. Her twin sons, Kusa and Lava, are
born and entrusted to the care of the sage Valmiki, the author of the
Ramayana, who brings them up in his hermitage. The boys have no
knowledge of their royal descent.

An incident now occurs which leads Rama to revisit the Dandaka forest,
the scene of his former exile. The child of a Brahman dies suddenly and
unaccountably. His body is laid at Rama's door. Evidently some national
sin is the cause of such a calamity, and an aerial voice informs him
that an awful crime is being perpetrated; for a Sudra, named Sambuka, is
practising religious austerities, instead of confining himself to his
proper vocation of waiting on the twice-born castes. Rama instantly
starts for the forest, discovers Sambuka in the sacrilegious act and
strikes off his head. But death by Rama's hand confers immortality on
the Sudra, who appears as a celestial spirit, and thanks his benefactor
for the glory and felicity thus obtained.

Before returning to Ayodhya, Rama is induced to visit the hermitage of
the sage Agastya in Panchavati. Sita now reappears. She is herself
invisible to Rama through the favour of the Bhagirathi but able to
thrill with emotions by her touch. Rama is greatly distracted.

He faints with old remembrances but revives on the touch of Sita. He
observes, "What does this mean? Heavenly balm seems poured into my
heart; a well-known touch changes my insensibility to life. Is it Sita,
or am I dreaming?"

He vainly seeks for her possession, but at last goes away on the advice
of his companion Visanti.

The sage Valmiki makes great preparations for receiving Vasishtha,
Janaka, Kaushalya, the mother of Rama and other eminent guests. The
pupils are delighted because the visit of the guests affords hopes of a
feast at which flesh meat is to constitute one of the dishes.

As the boys have got a holiday in honour of the guests, they are playing
at some distance from a tree outside the hermitage. Among them,
Kaushalya notices a boy with the features of her son, who is called in
but whom the guests do not yet know to be a son of Rama.

Soon after, the horse of the horse-sacrifice of Rama comes near and he
goes out with other boys to see the fun while the elders go to see the

The attendant soldiers cry out that Rama is the only hero of the world.
Lava--for such is the boy's name,--cannot brook such vaunts and removes
the banner. Soldiers crowd upon him and Lava draws his bow. Lakshmana's
son Chandraketu--the general of the army--arrives surprised at the
slaughter of his army and asks Lava to leave the incapable army and
fight with himself. Lava obeys the call and after some conversation in
which he ridicules the powers of Rama and infuriates his antagonist,
they go out to fight.

The discharge and repulsion of the divine weapons occur.

The approach of Rama puts an end to the contest. Lava's elder brother
Kusa has heard of his fight and comes to "eradicate from the world the
name of emperor." But Lava has become calm and asks his brother to pay
respects to the hero of the Ramayana.

Rama embraces both of them and is moved with their son-like touch. He
notices in them the features of his wife He knows that his children
alone could possess the divine weapons. He recollects that his wife was
left in that part of the forest and instinctively comes to the
conclusion that they are his children. He wishes to ask about their
birth in a roundabout way, but before proceeding to the end, is asked to
see his spiritual preceptor.

The desertion of Sita is acted by nymphs on the banks of the Ganges
before Rama and other high guests invited by Valmiki.

Sita, from behind the stage, cries out "the beasts of prey desire [to
devour] me in the forest (left) alone and unprotected. I will throw
myself into the Bhagirathi." She enters supported by her mother
Prithivi, the Earth and Ganga, each carrying a baby in the lap. Ganga
tells her of the birth of the twins and consoles her, but Earth is
greatly distressed with the conduct of Rama. Ganga replies "who can
close the door of Fate?"

But Earth says, "has it been proper for the good Rama? He disregarded
the hand he pressed when a boy. He disregarded me and Janaka. He
disregarded Fire (who shewed her purity). He disregarded the children
she was about to bring forth."

But Ganga pacifies her and they agree to make over the children to
Valmiki, when they become a little old. Earth then asks her daughter to
come to the nether world, to which she agrees and with their exit closes
the play.

At the close of the play, Rama faints. Then the real Sita enters with
Arundhuti, the wife of Rama's preceptor and touches and revives her
husband. The people are satisfied with her purity and Rama takes her
back with the children who are introduced by Valmiki. The husband and
wife are thus re-united after twelve years of grievous solitude, and
happiness is restored to the whole family. The re-union is witnessed not
only by the people of Ayodhya, but by the congregated deities of earth
and heaven.

Rama thus describes his love for his wife:--

"Her presence is ambrosia to my sight; her contact, fragrant sandal; her
fond arms, twined round my neck; are a far richer clasp than costliest
gems, and in my house she reigns the guardian goddess of my fame and
fortune. Oh! I could never bear again to lose her."


There lived, in the town of Kundinapura in Berar, Devarata, a very calm
and sagacious minister to the king of Vidarbha. He had a son named
Madhava. Madhava was very beautiful and of uncommon intelligence. He
became proficient in all branches of learning, in his early age. He now
arrived at a marriageable age. The beautiful town of Padmavati in Malwa
is situated at the confluence of the two rivers Indus and Madhumati.
There lived in Padmavati, Bhurivasu, who was minister to the king of
Padmavati. He had a very beautiful unmarried daughter named Malati. The
king indicated an intention to propose a match between Malati and his
own favourite Nandan, who was both old and ugly, and whom she detested.
Bhurivasu feared to give offence to the king by refusing the match.
Devarata and Bhurivasu were fellow students. In their academical days
they pledged themselves that they should enter into matrimonial
alliance, if they happen to have children. Malati and Madhava did not
know anything about their fathers' promises. There lived in Padmavati,
Kamandaki, an old Buddhist priestess who was nurse of Malati. The
priestess knew everything about the matrimonial promise. She was a very
intelligent lady and was respected by all. The two friends concert a
plan with the priestess to throw the young people in each other's way
and to connive at a secret marriage. In pursuance of this scheme,
Madhava is sent to finish his studies at the city of Padmavati with the
ostensible object of studying Logic under the care of the priestess, who
takes great care of her pupil and endeavours her utmost to fulfil the
promise of her two friends. By her contrivance and with the aid of
Malati's foster-sister Lavangika, the young people meet and become
mutually enamoured.

Kamandaki addresses her favourite disciple Avalokita thus:--

"Dear Avalokita! Oh how I wish for the marital union of Madhava, the son
of Devarata, and Malati, the daughter of Bhurivasu! Auspicious signs
forerun a happy fate. Even now my throbbing eyeball tells that
propitious destiny shall crown my schemes."

Avalokita replies:--

"Oh, here is a serious cause of anxiety. How strange! You are already
burdened with the austerities of devotional exercises, Bhurivasu has
commissioned you to perform this arduous task. Though retired from the
world, you could not avoid this business."

Kamandaki says, "Never say so. The commission is an office of love and
trust. If my friend's object is gained even at the expense of my life
and penances, I shall feel myself gratified."

The pupil asks "why is a stolen marriage intended?"

The priestess answers, "Nandana, a favourite of the king of Padmavati,
sues him for Malati. The king demands the maiden of her father. To evade
the anger of the king, this ingenious device has been adopted. Let the
world deem their union was the work of mutual passion only. So the king
and Nandan will be foiled. A wise man veils his projects from the
world." The pupil says, "I take Madhava to walk in the street in front
of the house of the minister Bhurivasu."

The priestess says,

"I have heard from Lavangika, the foster-sister of Malati, that Malati
has seen Madhava from the windows of her house.

Her waning form faithfully betrays the lurking care she now first learns
to suffer."

The pupil says, "I have heard that, to soothe that care, Malati has
drawn a picture of Madhava and has sent it through Lavangika to
Mandarika, her attendant."

The priestess perceives that Malati has done so with the object that the
picture would reach Madhava as Mandarika is in love with Kalahansa, the
servant of Madhava. Avalokita again says,

"To-day is the great festival of Madan; Malati will surely come to join
the festival, I have interested Madhava to go to the garden of Love's
god with a view that the youthful pair may meet there."

The priestess replies, "I tender my best thanks for your kindly zeal to
aid the object of my wishes. Can you give me any tidings of Soudamini,
my former pupil?"

Avalokita answers, "she now resides upon mount _Sriparvata_. She has now
arrived at supernatural power by religious austerities. I have learnt
the news about her from Kapala Kundala, the female pupil of a tremendous
magician Aghorghanta, a seer and a wandering mendicant, but now residing
amidst the neighbouring forest, who frequents the temple of the
dreadful goddess _Chamunda_ near the city cemetry." Avalokita remarks,
"Madhava would be highly pleased if his early friend Makaranda is united
in wedlock with Madayantika, the sister of Nandana."

The priestess observes, "I have already engaged my disciple
Buddharakshita for the purpose. Let us go forth and having learnt how
Madhava has fared, repair to Malati. May our devices prosper!"

Madhava thus describes to his friend Makaranda his first interview with
Malati, and acknowledges himself deeply smitten:--

"One day, advised by Avalokita, I went to the temple of the god of love.
I saw there a beauteous maid. I have become a victim to her glances. Her
gait was stately. Her train bespoke a princely rank. Her garb was graced
with youth's appropriate ornaments. Her form was beauty's shrine, or of
that shrine she moved as the guardian deity. Whatever Nature offers
fairest and best had surely been assembled to mould her charms. Love
omnipotent was her creator. Then I too plainly noted that the lovely
maid, revealed the signs of passion long entertained for some happy

Her shape was as slender as the lotus stalk. Her pallid cheeks, like
unstained ivory, rivalled the beauty of the spotless moon. I scarcely
had gazed upon her, but my eyes felt new delight, as bathed with nectar.
She drew my heart at once towards her as powerfully as the magnet does
the unresisting iron. That heart, though its sudden passion may be
causeless, is fixed on her for ever, chance what may, and though my
portion be henceforth despair. The goddess Destiny decrees at pleasure
the good or ill of all created beings."

Makranda observes, "Believe me, this cannot be without some cause.
Behold! all nature's sympathies spring not from outward form but from
inward virtue. The lotus does not bud till the sun has risen. The
moon-gem does not melt till it feels the moon." Madhava goes on with his
description thus:--

"When her fair train beheld me, they exchanged expressive looks and
smiles and murmured to one another as if they knew me. What firmness
could resist the honest warmth of nature's mute expressiveness? Those
looks of love, beaming with mild timidity and moist with sweet
abandonment, tore off my heart,--nay plucked it from my bosom by the
roots, all pierced with wounds. Being incredulous of my happiness, I
sought to mark her passion, without displaying my own. A stately
elephant received the princess and bore her towards the city. Whilst she
moved, she shot from her delicate lids retiring glances, tipped with
venom and ambrosia, My breast received the shafts. Words cannot paint my
agony. Vain were the lunar rays or gelid streams to cool my body's
fever, whilst my mind whirls in perpetual round and does not know rest.
Requested by Lavangika, I gave her the flowery wreath. She took it with
respect, as if it were a precious gift and all the while the eyes of
Malati were fixed on her. Bowing with reverence, she than retired."

Makaranda remarks--

"Your story most plainly shows that Malati's affection is your own. The
soft cheek, whose pallid tint denoted love pre-conceived, is pale alone
for you; She must have seen you. Maidens of her rank do not allow their
eyes to rest on one to whom they have not already given their hearts.
And then, those looks that passed among her maidens plainly showed the
passion you had awakened in their mistress.

Then comes her foster-sister's clear enigma and tells intelligibly whose
her heart is."

Kalahansa, advancing, shows a picture and says, "This picture is the
work of hers who has stolen Madhava's heart. Mandarika gave it to me.
She had it from Lavangika, Malati painted it to amuse and relieve
distress." Makaranda says, "This lovely maid, the soft light of your
eyes, assuredly regards you bound to her in love's alliance. What should
prevent your union? Fate and love combined seem labouring to effect it.
Come, let me behold the wondrous form that works such change in you. You
have the skill. Portray her."

Madhava, in return, delineates the likeness of Malati on the same tablet
and Makaranda writes under it the following impassioned love-stanza,

  "Whatever nature loveliness displays,
  May seem to others beautiful and bright;
  But since these charms have broken upon my gaze,
  They form my life's sole exquisite delight."

Being asked by Makaranda as to how and where Malati first saw Madhava,
Mandarika says, "Malati was called to the lattice by Lavangika to look
at him as he passed the palace."

The picture is restored to Mandarika and brought back to Malati.

The mutual passion of the lovers, encouraged by their respective
confidants, is naturally increased.

Madhava thus addresses Makaranda,

"It is strange, most strange! wherever I turn, the same loved charms
appear on every side. Her beauteous face gleams as brightly as the
golden bud of the young lotus. Alas! my friend, this fascination spreads
over all my senses. A feverish flame consumes my strength. My heart is
all on fire. My mind is tossed with doubt. Every faculty is absorbed in
one fond thought.

I cease to be myself or conscious of the thing I am."

Malati thus addresses Lavangika:--

"Love spreads through every vein like subtlest poison and, like fire
that brightens in the breeze, consumes this feeble frame. Resistless
fever preys on each fibre. Its fury is fatal. No one can help me.
Neither father nor mother nor Lavangika can save me. Life is distasteful
to me.

Repeatedly recurring to the anguish of my heart, I lose all fortitude
and in my grief become capricious and unjust. Forgive me. Let the full
moon blaze in the mighty sky. Let love rage on. Death screens me from
his fury."

In the meantime, the king makes the long-expected demand and the
minister Bhurivasu returns the following ambiguous answer:--

"Your Majesty may dispose of your daughter as your Majesty pleases."

[This answer is used in a double sense:--

"Your minister's daughter is your own daughter and you can dispose of
her as you please," and "You can dispose of your own daughter as you
please, but not my daughter."

The father's connivance at his daughter's stolen marriage would appear
inconsistent if the reply is not understood in its double sense.]

The intelligence reaches the lovers. They are thrown into despair.

Requested by Lavangika, Kamandaki thus describes Madhava in the presence
of Malati:--

"The sovereign of Vidarbha boasts for minister the wise and
long-experienced Devarata, who bears the burden of state and spreads
throughout the world his piety and fame. Your father knows him well.
For, in their youth, they were joined in study and trained to learning
by the same preceptor.

In this world we rarely behold such characters as theirs. Their lofty
rank is the abode of wisdom and of piety, of valour and of virtue. Their
fame spreads white and spotless through the universe. A son has sprung
from Devarata whose opening virtues early give occasion of rejoicing to
the world. Now, in his bloom, this youth has been sent to our city to
collect ripe stores of knowledge. His name is Madhava."

Kamandaki soliloquises thus:--

"Malati is tutored to our wishes and inspired with hatred of the
bridegroom Nandan. He is reminded of the examples of _Sakuntala_ and
_Vasavadatta_ that vindicate the free choice of a husband. Her
admiration of her youthful lover is now approved by his illustrious
birth and my encomium of his high descent. All this must strengthen and
confirm her passion. Now their union may be left to fate."

By the contrivance of Kamandaki, a second interview between the lovers
takes place in the public garden of the temple of _Sankara_. Malati is
persuaded that the god _Sankara_ is to be propitiated with offerings of
flowers gathered by one's self. Whilst she is collecting her oblation
she and Madhava meet as if by accident.

At this moment, a great tumult and terrific screams announce that a
tremendous tiger has escaped from an iron cage in the temple of Siva,
spreading destruction everywhere. Instantly, Nandana's youthful sister,
Madayantika happens to be passing, and is attacked by the tiger and is
reported to be in imminent danger.

Madhava and Makaranda both rush to the rescue. The latter kills the
animal, and thus saves her who is then brought in a half-fainting state
into the garden. He is himself wounded. Mandayantika is thus saved by
the valour of Makaranda. The gallant youth is brought in insensible. By
the care of the women, he revives.

On recovering, Madayantika naturally falls in love with her deliverer.

The two couples are thus brought together. Malati affiances herself
there and then to Madhava.

Soon afterwards, the king prepares to enforce the marriage of Malati
with Nandan. A messenger arrives to summon Madayantika to be present at
the marriage. Another messenger summons Malati herself to the king's

Madhava is mad with grief and in despair makes the extraordinary
resolution of purchasing the aid of ghosts and malignant spirits by
going to the cemetery and offering them living flesh, cut off from his
own body, as food. He accordingly bathes in the river Sindhu and goes at
night to the cemetery. The cemetery happens to be near the temple of the
awful goddess Chamunda, a form of Durga. The temple is presided over by
a sorceress named Kapalkundla and her preceptor, a terrible necromancer
Aghorghanta. They have determined on offering some beautiful maiden as
a human victim to the goddess. With this object they carry off Malati,
before her departure, while asleep on a terrace and bringing her to the
temple, are about to kill her at the shrine when her cries of distress
attract the attention of Madhava, who is, at the moment, in the cemetery
offering his flesh to the ghosts.

He thinks he recognizes the voice of Malati. He rushes forward to her
rescue. She is discovered dressed as a victim and the magician and the
sorceress are preparing for the sacrifice.

He encounters Aghorghanta and, after a terrific hand-to-hand fight,
kills him and rescues Malati.

She flies to his arms. Voices are heard as of persons in search of
Malati. Madhava places her in safety.

The sorceress vows vengeance against Madhava for slaying her preceptor

Malati is now restored to her friends. The preparations for Malati's
wedding with Nandana goes on. The old priestess Kamandaki, who favours
the union of Malati with her lover Madhava, contrives that, by the
king's command, the bridal dress shall be put on at the very temple
where her own ministrations are conducted.

There she persuades Makaranda to substitute himself for the bride. He
puts on the bridal dress, is carried in procession to the house of
Nandan and goes through the form of being married to him. Nandana, being
disgusted with the masculine appearance of the pretended bride, and
offended by the rude reception given to him, vows to have no further
communication with her and consigns her to his sister's care in the
inner apartments. This enabled Makaranda to effect an interview with
Nandana's sister Madayantika, the object of his own affections.

Makaranda then discovers himself to his mistress and persuades her to
run away with him to the place where Malati and Madhava have concealed

Their flight is discovered. The king's guards are sent in pursuit. A
great fight follows; but Makaranda, assisted by Madhava, defeats his
opponents. The bravery and handsome appearance of the two youths avert
the king's anger and they are allowed to join their friends unpunished.

The friends accordingly assemble at the gate of the temple.

But the sorceress, who has been watching an opportunity when Malati is
unprotected, takes advantage of the confusion and carries her off in a
flying car, in revenge for the death of her preceptor. The distress of
her lover and friends knows no bounds. They are reduced to despair at
this second obstacle to the marriage. They give up all hopes of
recovering her when they are happily relieved by the opportune arrival
of Soudamini, an old pupil of the priestess Kamandaki, who has acquired
extraordinary magical powers by her penances.

She rescues Malati from the hands of the sorceress and restores her to
her despairing lover.

The two couples are now united in happy wedlock.


In Ayodhya, there was an illustrious and powerful monarch, the subduer
of foes and the renowned ornament of the exalted house of the sun, named
Dasaratha in whose family, for the purpose of relieving the Earth of her
burden, Bhurisravas (Vishnu) deigned to incorporate his divine substance
as four blooming youths. The eldest, endowed with the qualities of
imperial worth, was Rama.

He goes with his brother Lakshmana to the court of Mithila, to try his
strength in the bending of the bow of Siva, and thereby win Sita for his
bride. The hero triumphs. The bow is broken with a deafening sound which
brings Parasurama there. Rama wins his bride. He tries the bow of
Parasurama and shoots an arrow from it which flies to Swerga or heaven.
The Brahmin hero now acknowledges the Kshatriya hero to be his superior.
Rama is married to Sita. The sweet loves of the happy pair grows with

Various portents then indicate Rama's impending separation from his
father. The sun looks forth dimmed in radiance. Fiery torches wave along
the sky. Meteors dart headlong through midheaven. Earth shakes. The
firmament rains showers of blood. Around, the horizon thickens. In the
day, the pale stars gleam. Unseasonable eclipse darkens the noon. Day
echoes with the howls of dogs and jackals, whilst the air replies with
horrid and strange sounds, such as shall peal, when the destroying deity
proclaims in thunder the dissolution of the world. Rama is exiled. At
this, the king dies in agony. It is the result of the stern curse
denounced upon the king by the father of the ascetic whom the king,
hunting in his youthful days, had accidentally slain.

Rama fixes his residence at Panchavati. Maricha, a Rakshasa, now appears
as a deer. The supposed animal is chased by Rama and Lakshmana at Sita's

Ravana then comes disguised to see Sita. He mutters, "pious dame! Give
me food." She heedlessly oversteps the magic ring traced by Lakshmana,
when the Rakshasa seizes her by the hand stretched in charity. She calls
in vain the sons of Raghu. Jatayu, the vulture, endeavours to rescue
her, but is slain. She encounters Hanuman, the chief Counsellor of
Sugriva, the dethroned king of the Monkeys, and begs him to carry her
ornaments, which she casts to him, to Rama.

Having slain the deer, the prince, with his brave brother, returns to
their bower. He seeks Sita, but seeks in vain. His steps tread three
several quarters, the fourth he leaves, overcome with grief and terror,

Rama prosecutes his search after Sita. He fights with Bali, the king of
the Monkeys, and triumphs over him.

He now despatches Hanuman to Lanka, Hanuman pays a visit to Sita.

He performs various feats at Lanka and returns to Rama whose hosts now
advance towards Lanka.

Vibhishana, the brother of Ravana, expostulates with his royal brother,
but in vain. Consequently he deserts the king and goes over to Rama.

The Monkeys advance further towards Lanka.

A bridge is built over the sea.

The troops cross over it.

Where first the Monkey bands advance, they view a watery belt smoothly
circling round the shore: the following troops plough their way through
the thick mire with labour; the chief who leads the rear, filled with
wonder, exclaims, "Here is Ocean."

Rama now sends Angada, the son of Bali, to persuade Ravana to relinquish
Sita peaceably. Angada has some feeling of aversion to Rama, who killed
his father, but thinks he shall best fulfil his father's wishes by
promoting the war between Ravana and Rama; he therefore goes to Ravana
and defies him in very haughty terms.

Ravana says:--

"Indra, the king of the gods, weaves garlands for me; the thousand-rayed
or the Sun keeps watch at my gate; above my head Chandra or the Moon
uprears the umbrella of dominion; the wind's and the ocean's monarchs
are my slaves; and for my board the fiery godhead toils. Knowest thou
not this, and canst thou stoop to praise the son of Raghu, whose frail
mortal body is but a meal to any of my households?"

Angada laughs and observes:--"Is this thy wisdom, Ravana? Infirm of
judgement dost thou deem of Rama thus--a mortal man? Then Ganga merely
flows a watery stream; the elephants that bear the skies, and Indra's
steed, are brutal forms; the charms of Rembha are the fleeting beauties
of earth's weak daughters, and the golden age, a term of years. Love is
a petty archer; the mighty Hanuman, in thy proud discernment, is an

Angada, having in vain endeavoured to persuade Ravana to restore Sita,
leaves him to expect the immediate advance of the Monkey host.

Virupaksha and Mahodara, two of Ravana's ministers utter a string of
moral and political sentences.

Ravana is not to be persuaded, but goes to Sita to try the effect of his
personal solicitations--first endeavouring to deceive her by two
fictitious heads, made to assume the likenesses of Rama and Lakshmana.
Sita's lamentations are stopped by a heavenly monitor, who tells her
that the heads are the work of magic and they instantly disappear.
Ravana then vaunts his prowess in war and love, and approaches Sita to
embrace her. She exclaims "Forbear, forbear! proud fiend, the jetty arms
of my loved lord, or thy relentless sword, alone shall touch my neck."

Thus repulsed, Ravana withdraws, and presently reappears as Rama, with
his own ten heads in his hands. Sita, thinking him to be what he
appears, is about to embrace him, when the secret virtue of her
character as a faithful wife detects the imposition, and reveals the
truth to her. Ravana, baffled and mortified, is compelled to relinquish
his design. Sita's apprehensions, lest she should be again beguiled, are
allayed by a voice from heaven, which announces that she will not see
the real Rama until he has beheld Mandodari kiss the dead body of her
husband Ravana.

A female Rakhasi attempts to assassinate Rama, but is stopped and slain
by Angada. The army then advances to Lanka, and Ravana comes forth to
meet it. Kumbhakarna, his gigantic and sleepy brother, is disturbed from
his repose to combat. He is rather out of humour at first, and
recommends Ravana to give up the lady, observing: "Though the commands
of royalty pervade the world, yet sovereigns ever should remember, the
light of justice must direct their path." Ravana answers:--

"They who assist us with a holy text are but indifferent friends. These
arms have wrested victory from the opposing grasp of gods and demons.
Confiding in thy prowess, sure in thee to triumph over my foes, I have
relaxed their fibre, but again their nerves are braced, I need thee not;
hence to thy cell and sleep." Kumbhakarna replies:--"King, do not
grieve, but like a valiant chief, pluck from thy heart all terror of
thine enemies, and only deem of thy propitious fortunes, or who shall
foremost plunge into the fight----I will not quit thee."

Kumbhakarna's advance terrifies Rama's troops, whom the Kshatriya hero
addresses thus:

"Ho! chiefs and heroes, why this groundless panic, the prowess of our
enemy untried in closer conflict? Ocean's myriad fry would drain the
fountain, and before the swarm of hostile gnats the mighty lion falls."
Kumbhakarna is killed by Rama; on which Indrajit, a son of Ravana,
proceeds against the brethren. By the arrow called _Nagapasa_,
presented him by Brahma, he casts Rama and Lakshmana senseless on the
ground, and then goes to Nikumbhila mountain to obtain a magic car by
means of sacrifice. Hanumana disturbs his rites.

Rama and Lakshmana revive, and on being sprinkled with drops of amrita
brought by Garura, the latter with a shaft decapitates Meghnada, and
tosses the head into the hands of his father Ravana.

Ravana levels a shaft at Lakshmana, given him by Brahma, and charged
with the certain fate of one hero. Hanumana snatches it away, after it
has struck Lakshmana, before it does mischief. Ravana reproaches Brahma,
and he sends Nareda to procure the dart again and keep Hanumana out of
the way. With the fatal weapon Lakshmana is left for dead. Rama

"My soldiers shall find protection in their caves; I can die with Sita,
but thou, Vibhishana, what shall become of thee?"

Hanuman reappears and encourages him. Ravana has a celebrated physician,
Sushena, who is brought away from Lanka in his sleep, and directs that a
drug (_Vishalya_) from the Druhima mountain must be procured before
morning, or Lakshmana will perish. This mountain is six millions of
_Yojanas_ remote, but Hanuman undertakes to bring it bodily to Lanka,
and call at Ayodhya on his way.

He accordingly roots up the mountain, and is returning with it to Rama,
via Ayodhya, when Bharata, who is employed in guarding a sacrifice made
by Vasishtha, not knowing what to make of him, shoots Hanuman as he
approaches. He falls exclaiming on Rama and Lakshmana, which leads
Bharata to discover his mistake. Vasishtha restores the monkey who sets
off for Lanka. On Hanuman's return, the medicament is administered, and
Lakshman revives.

An ambassador from Ravana comes and offers to give up Sita for the
battle-axe of Parasurama, but this, Rama replies, must be reserved for
Indra. On this refusal, Ravana goes forth after a brief dialogue with
his queen Mandodari, who animates his drooping courage with the true
spirit of the tribe to which she belongs.

"Banish your sorrow, lord of Lanka, take one long and last embrace. We
meet no more. Or give command, and by your side I march fearless to
fight, for I too am a Kshatriya." The progress of Ravana through the air
appals all Nature. The winds breathe low in timid murmurs through the
rustling woods; the sun with slackened fires gleams pale abroad and the
streams, relaxing from their rapid course, slowly creep along. Ravana
defies Rama with great disdain and in derision of his modest demeanour,
asks him whether he is not overcome with shame by the recollection of
his ancestor, Anaranya, killed formerly by Ravana.

Rama replies:--

"I am not ashamed my noble ancestor fell in the combat. The warrior
seeks victory or death, and death is not disgrace. It ill befits thee to
revile his fame. When vanquished, thou couldst drag out an abject life
in great Haihaya's dungeons, till thy sire begged thee to freedom, as a
matter of charity. For thee alone I blush, unworthy of my triumph."

Ravana falls under the arrows of Rama. The heads, that once, sustained
on Siva's breast, shone with heavenly splendour, now lie beneath the
vulture's talons. Mandodari bewails the death of her husband. Sita is
recovered, but Rama is rather shy of his bride, until her purity is
established by her passing through the fiery ordeal: a test she
successfully undergoes. Rama returns with Sita and his friends to
Ayodhya, when Angada challenges them all to fight him, as it is now time
to revenge his father's death. A voice from heaven, however, tells him
to be pacified, as Bali will be born as hunter in a future age, and kill
Rama, who will then be Krishna: he is accordingly appeased. Rama is now
seated on the throne of Ayodhya. After some time, he orders the exile of


The sage Viswamitra comes to Dasaratha, the king of Ayodhya, to request
the aid of his eldest son Rama. Each tries to outdo the other in
complimentary speeches. The sage observes:--

"The monarch of the day invests the dawn with delegated rays to scatter
night, and ocean sends his ministers the clouds, to shed his waters over
the widespread earth."

The king, taking counsel with himself, and being reminded by Vamadeva,
one of his priests and preceptors, that the race of Raghu never sent
away a petitioner ungratified, sends for Rama and Lakshmana, and allows
Viswamitra to take them with him, to his hermitage, situated on the
banks of the Kausiki or Coosy river, to protect him in his rites against
the oppression of Taraka, a Rakshasi.

The cry is heard that Taraka is abroad. Rama, after some hesitation
about killing a female, slays her.

Viswamitra now proposes that they should visit Mithila. The two princes
are introduced to Janaka, the king of Mithila, who is urged by the sage
to let Rama try to bend the bow of Siva. Sanshkala, the messenger of
Ravana, the king of Lanka, now arrives to demand Sita in marriage for
his master, refusing, at the same time, on his part, to submit to the
test of bending the bow. The demand is refused. Rama tries his fortune,
bends the bow and wins the lady. The family connection is extended by
the promise of Urmila, Mandavi, and Srutakirti, to Rama's brothers.
Sanshkala is highly indignant and carries the information to his
master's minister Malyavan, who is disappointed on Ravana's account.
Malyavan anticipates that Ravana will carry Sita off; and to render the
attempt less perilous, projects inveighing Rama into the forests alone,
for which he sends Surpanakha, the sister of Ravana, in the disguise of
Manthara, the attendant of Kaukeyi.

Parasurama then appears and boasts of his destruction of the Kshatriya
race. Rama replies:--"This flag of your fame is now worn to tatters, let
us see if you can mount a new one." Rama then calls for his bow, and
Parasurama presents him with his axe. They go forth to fight. In the
end, the two Ramas turn very excellent friends. Parasurama departs.

Dasaratha now declares his purpose of relinquishing the kingdom entirely
to his son Rama, Lakshmana announces the arrival of Manthara, and
presents a letter from Kaikeyi, the purpose of which is to urge
Dasaratha's fulfilment of his promise, and grant her as the two boons,
the Coronation of Bharata, and banishment of Rama. The old king faints.
Rama recommending his father to Janaka, departs for the forests,
accompanied by Lakshmana and Sita. On their arrival in the forests, they
are cordially received by Sugriva, the brother of Bali the king of the
monkeys. Lakshmana carries on a dialogue with Ravana, disguised as a

Jatayu, the king of birds, beholds Sita carried off by Ravana. He
follows the ravisher. Rama and Lakshmana both express their grief.

Lakshmana observes:--

"The worse the ill that Fate inflicts on noble souls, the more their
firmness; and they arm their spirits with adamant to meet the blow."

Rama replies:--

"The firmness I was born with or was reared to, and rage, that fills my
heart, restrain my sorrows; but hard is the task to fit my soul to bear
unmurmuringly a husband's shame."

A cry of distress is now heard, and on looking out, the youths observe
Guha, the friendly forest monarch, assailed by the demon Kabandha, or a
fiend without a head. Lakshmana goes to his aid, and returns with his
friend Guha. In the act of delivering him, Lakshmana tosses away the
skeleton of Dundubhi, a giant, suspended by Bali, who, deeming this an
insult, presently appears. After a prolix interchange of civility and
defiance, Rama and Bali resolve to determine their respective supremacy
by single combat. Bali is slain. His brother Sugriva is inaugurated as
king and determines to assist Rama to recover Sita. A bridge is built
over the sea. Rama's army advance to Lanka. Kumbhakarna, a brother of
Ravana, and Meghanada, a son of Ravana, go forth to battle. Malyavan
wishes them prosperity in a phrase perfectly oracular. They are slain.
Ravana now takes the field himself. Malyavan resolves to follow him and
resign, on the sword, a life now useless to his sovereign. The king is
overthrown. Sita is recovered.

Rama with his wife and brother, accompanied by Vibhishana, the brother
of Ravana, and Sugriva, mounts the celestial car, which was once
wrested by Ravana from his brother Kuvera, and sets out to proceed to

On the way the travellers descry the Sumeru mountain, the Malaya
mountain, the Dandaka forest, the mountain Prasravana, the Godaveri
river, mount Malyavan, Kundinipura in the Maharashtra country, the
shrine of Bhimeswara, the city of Kanchi, Ujayin, the temple of
Mahakala, Mahishmati the capital of Chedi, the Jumna and Ganga rivers,
Varanasi, Mithila or Tirhut, and Champa near Bhagalpur.

They then proceed westward to Prayaga, and Antarvedi or Doab, when they
again follow an easterly course and arrive at Ayodhya.

Bharata, Satrughna, Vasishtha the priest and the people of Ayodhya await
the arrival of the party and receive them most cordially. Rama is now
crowned king.




Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, is dragged by the _veni_ or braid of
hair into the public assembly by the hand of Duhsasana, one of the
Kaurava princes, a disgrace that weighs most heavily upon the Pandavas,
who contemplate most bitter revenge.

Krishna returns to the Pandava camp from a visit to the Kaurava princes,
as a mediator between the contending chiefs. Ferocious Bhima expresses,
to his brother Sahadeva, his refusal to have any share in the
negotiations instituted by Krishna and his determination to make no
peace with the enemy until the insult offered to Draupadi is avenged. He
announces his resolution, in case the dispute be amicably adjusted, to
disclaim all connection with his own brothers, and throw off obedience
to Judhishthira.

The price of peace is the demand of five villages or towns,
Indraprastha, Tilaprastha, Mansadam, Varanavatam, and another. Sahadeva
attempts to calm the fury of Bhima, but in vain; and Draupadi, with her
hair still dishevelled, and pining over her ignominious treatment, comes
to inflame his resentment. She complains also of a recent affront
offered by Bhanumati, the queen of Duryodhana, in an injurious comment
upon her former exposure, which serves to widen the breach.

Krishna's embassy is unsuccessful, and he effects his return only by
employing his divine powers against the enemy. All the chiefs are
summoned by the trumpet to prepare for battle.

Before day-break, Bhanumati repeats, to her friend and an attendant, a
dream in which she has beheld a _Nakula_ or Mungoose destroy a hundred
snakes. This is very ominous, _Nakula_ being one of the Pandavas, and
the sons of Kuru amounting to a hundred. Duryodhana overhears part of
the story, and at first imagines the hostile prince is the hero of the
vision. He is about to burst upon her, full of rage, and when he catches
the true import of the tale, he is at first disposed to be alarmed by
it, but at last wisely determines to disregard it.

For, by Angira it is sung, the aspect of the planets, dreams and signs,
meteors and portents, are the sports of accident, and do not move the
wise. Bhanumati offers an _arghya_ of sandal and flowers to the rising
sun to avert the ill omen, and then the king appears and soothes her.

Their dialogue is disturbed by a rising whirlwind from which they take
shelter in a neighbouring pavilion. The mother of Jayadratha, the king
of Sindhu, then appears, and apprises Duryodhana that Arjuna has vowed,
if sunset finds Jayadratha alive, he will sacrifice himself in the
flames. His wrath is especially excited by the death of his son
Abhimanyu, in which that chieftain had borne a leading part. Duryodhana
laughs at her fears and those of his wife, and despises the resentment
of the Pandavas. He observes, that this was fully provoked by the
treatment which Draupadi received by his command, when in the presence
of the court and of the Pandavas, she called out in vain for mercy.
Duryodhana then orders his war-chariot and goes forth to the battle. Up
to the period of the contest, the following chiefs have fallen,
Bhagadatta, Sindhuraja, Angadhipa, Drupada, Bhurisravas, Somadatta, and

Ghatotkacha is also slain, and Bhima is about to avenge his fall, on
which account Hirimba, the queen of the Rakshasas and mother of
Ghatotkacha, has ordered goblins to be ready to assist Bhimasena.

Drona is seized by Dhrishtadyumna and slain. Aswatthama, the son of
Drona, appears armed and is overtaken by his father's charioteer who
tells him of the treachery by which Drona was slain, having been induced
to throw away his arms by a false report that his son Aswatthama had
perished, and been then killed at a disadvantage. Aswatthama's distress
is assuaged by his maternal uncle Kripa, who recommends him to solicit
the command of the host from Duryodhana.

In the meantime, proud Kerna, the friend and ally of Duryodhana, fills
the mind of the Kuru chief with impressions hostile to Drona and his
son, persuading him that Drona only fought to secure Aswatthama's
elevation to royal dignity, and that he threw away his life, not out of
grief, but in despair at the disappointment of his ambitious schemes.
Kripa and Aswatthama now arrive and Duryodhana professes to condole with
Aswatthama for his father's loss. Kerna sneeringly asks him what he
purposes, to which he replies:--

"Whoever confident in arms is ranked amongst the adverse host--whomever
the race of proud Panchala numbers, active youth, weak age or unborn
babes, whoever beheld my father's murder, or whoever dares to cross my
path, shall fall before my vengeance. Dark is my sight with rage, and
Death himself, the world's destroyer, should not escape my fury."

Kripa then requests Duryodhana to give the command of the army to
Aswatthama. The king excuses himself on the plea of having promised it
to Kerna, to whom he transfers his ring accordingly. A violent quarrel
ensues between Kerna and Aswatthama, and Duryodhana and Kripa have some
difficulty in preventing them from single combat. Fiery Aswatthama at
last reproaches Duryodhana with partiality, and refuses to fight for him
more. Bhima proclaims that he has at last encountered Duhsasana, the
insulter of Draupadi, and is about to sacrifice him to his vengeance.
Kerna, instigated by Aswatthama, foregoes his anger and is about to
resume his arms when a voice from heaven prevents him. He is obliged,
therefore, to remain an idle spectator of the fight, but desires Kripa
to assist the king. They go off to fight.

Duhsasana is killed and the army of the Kauravas is put to the rout.
Duryodhana is wounded and becomes insensible. On his recovery, he hears
of Duhsasana's death and gives vent to his sorrows.

In the conflict between Arjuna and Vrishasena, the son of Kerna, the
young prince is slain to his father's distress. Sundaraka, a follower of
Kerna, brings a leaf on which Kerna has written to Duryodhana, with an
arrow dipped in his own blood, message for aid. Duryodhana orders his
chariot, and prepares to seek the fight again, when he is prevented by
the arrival of his parents, Dhritarashtra and Gandhari, who with
Sanjaya, endeavour to prevail upon Duryodhana to sue for peace, but he

A tumult and the entrance of the king's charioteer announce the death of
Kerna. Duryodhana, after expressing his grief, determines to go and
avenge him, and mount the car of Sanjaya, the charioteer of
Dhritarashtra, for that purpose, when Arjuna and Bhima arrive in search
of him.

On finding the seniors there, Arjuna purposes to withdraw; but Bhima
insists on first addressing them, which they do, but in insulting terms.

Dhritarashtra, reproaching them for this language, is told they use it
not in pride, but in requital of his having witnessed, without
interfering to prevent, the oppression and barbarous treatment the
Pandavas experienced from his sons. Duryodhana interferes and defies
Bhima, who is equally anxious for the combat; but Arjuna prevents it,
and the brothers are called off by a summons from Yudhishthira, who
orders the battle to cease for the day and the dead bodies of either
party to be burnt. Aswatthama is now disposed to be reconciled to
Duryodhana; but the prince receives his advances coldly, and he
withdraws in disgust. Dhritarashtra sends Sanjaya after him to persuade
him to overlook Duryodhana's conduct. Duryodhana mounts his car, and the
aged couple seek the tent of Salya, the king of Madra.

Duryodhana is discovered concealed in a swamp, and compelled to fight
with Bhimasena, by whom he is slain. Yudhisthira orders public
rejoicings on the occasion.

Charvaka, a Rakshasa disguised as a sage, then enters, requiring rest
and water. He relates that he has seen Arjuna engaged with Duryodhana,
Bhima having been previously slain by the latter, and gives his hearers
to understand that Arjuna also has fallen. Draupadi determines to mount
the funeral pile, and Yudhishthira, to put an end to himself when the
Rakshasa, satisfied with the success of his scheme, which was intended
to prevail on this couple to perish, departs. The pile is prepared, and
Yudhishthira and Draupadi are about to sacrifice themselves, when they
are disturbed by a great clamour. Supposing it to precede the approach
of Duryodhana, Yudhishthira calls for his arms, when Bhima, his club
besmeared with blood, rushes in. Draupadi runs away; he catches her by
the hair, and is seized by Yudhishthira--on which the mistake is

The braid of Draupadi's hair is now again bound up. Arjuna and Vasudeva
arrive, and announce that they have heard of the fraud of Charvaka. On
hearing that the mendicant is slain by Nakula, Krishna expresses great




Maharaja Harischandra, a scion of the solar race, a powerful king,
endowed with uncommon virtues and skilled in all arts, sees a vision of
misfortune to come. Apprehending future evils for his subjects, he
confers with his priest, and acting on his advice, spends a whole night
in religious contemplation in a temple of God. Next morning the king
enters the inner apartments of his palace to greet his wife. The queen,
who is jealous on account of his absence during the night, says to him,
"Oh! I see your eyes are red for want of sleep. The sight is not
uninteresting; only, I am being consumed with the fires of agony of
mind." The king, on hearing this, smiles and says, "Oh my dear queen! do
not be angry. Be assured, you have no rival in Harischandra's

The queen is not altogether satisfied with this assurance, for love is
suspicious. Just then, a messenger comes to request permission to bring
in a hermit who is standing at the door. The permission is granted and
the hermit enters. Addressing the King, he says, "The family priest has
sent you some holy water, which will bring you peace of mind and ward
off the evils for fear of which he made you keep up a whole night." The
king and the queen thankfully accept the water. The hermit retires. The
queen, now learning from the hermit the cause of her husband's absence
from her, and of his wakefulness all night, becomes ashamed of herself
and asks her lord's pardon for the false insinuation she had made. On
this he kisses the queen.

Again, the king goes on a hunting expedition. Hunting is a favourite
pastime with kings. It promotes health and courage and gives immense
pleasure to all who engage in it. When the king enters a thick forest,
he finds the great sage Viswamitra deeply engaged in religious
austerities with the view of acquiring the three unattainable arts of
creation, preservation and destruction, which properly belong to Brahma,
Vishnu and Siva respectively. The gods plot to prevent this
consummation, and send a servant named Bighna. Bighna assumes the form
of a boar and appears before the king. The king discharges an arrow at
him, but in vain. The animal enters the thick forest. The king follows.
It now enters the hermitage of Viswamitra. The king addresses his
followers thus, "It is the duty of kings to get rid of carnivorous
animals from the forest of meditation and austerities. I have, on the
contrary, made a carnivorous animal enter it. How can I now retire? But
the hermits will be disturbed in their religious exercises if you all
enter. So, do you all wait here. I will proceed alone." With these
observations, the king enters the forest of meditation and is charmed
with its exquisite beauty.

The king thinks, "Tearing off the bonds of the world is the cause of
hermits' ease and happiness. With no attachments, no desires, no
bereavements, no worldly anxieties, they are happily absorbed in divine
contemplation." The king is thinking thus when distant cries are heard,
as if females are crying out, "Maharaja Harischandra! save us! save us!
Save us from the fire-place of this mighty hermit. We three helpless
women are being burnt up."

At this, the king is at a loss. His heart melts at the tender cries of
the women. He extinguishes the flame with his weapon dedicated to
Varuna, the god of the waters.

The three ladies are the three arts of creation, preservation and
destruction. They, thus delivered, go away to Heaven, showering
blessings of victory on their deliverer.

The meditations of the dreadful sage Viswamitra are thus broken off. His
eyes are red with anger. Seeing Harischandra standing before him he
cries out, "Oh wretch of a Kshattriya! I will burn you up as Siva did
the god of love."

The king is at a loss. He trembles as a plantain tree tossed up by
tempest. He touches the feet of the sage and most piteously begs pardon
of him.

But the sage is obdurate. He will not be appeased. He is about to
consume the offender with imprecation.

The Raja again and again implores him thus:--

"My lord Kausika! Forgive me. I was touched by the piteous appeals of
the women and disturbed you for the sake of duty."

At this, the sage becomes still more furious and says trembling, "O
Villain! speak of duty! What is your duty?"

The king replies,

"O god! gifts to virtuous Brahmans, protection of those afflicted with
fear, and fight with enemies are the three chief duties of Kshattriyas."

The sage thereupon observes,

"If compliance with duties be your aim, make some gift to me
commensurate with my merit."

The king replies, "Oh great sage! what have I got with which to make a
due gift to you? I am prepared to give you what I have----this world
with all its wealth. Please accept it."

Then the sage becomes calm and says,

"Be it so. I will not burn you up. I accept your gift of a kingdom. Now
that you have made a gift, give me a fee of one thousand gold coins,
commensurate with the gift. I will not accept the gift without the fee.
But as you have made a gift of the world with all its wealth, you must
not take the fee-money out of that world. Collect the money elsewhere."

At this, the king is in a fix. After much thought it strikes him that it
is said in the scriptures that Benares is separate from the world. So he
resolves to collect money from that holy city.

Then the king placing the crown and the sceptre of royalty at the feet
of the sage, obtains from him one month's time to pay the fee and taking
the queen Saibya and his son Rohitasya with him, starts for Benares. The
month allowed him is drawing to a close. Not a single gold coin has been
collected--to say nothing of one thousand coins. Alms is the only way of
collection. Alms barely suffices for maintenance. On the morning of the
last day, when he is deeply anxious for the money, the sage arrives.
Seeing the latter, he almost faints.

The sage whirls his eyes and asks, "Oh Harischandra! where is my fee?
Pay at once, or I will burn you up." He replies in piteous and trembling
tones, "The month will be completed by sunset. Please wait till sunset."

The sage observes, "I will not listen to any more of your
prevarications. I cannot grant your request."

The king cries and repeatedly entreats the sage to wait till sunset.

At this the queen and his son both weep.

After many entreaties, the sage consents. Then the king again goes out
a-begging, but in vain. Then he resolves to sell his person and goes
about hawking himself in the streets.

No one responds to his efforts. No buyer appears. At this time, a
Brahmin with a disciple, asks whether a male or a female slave is for
sale and intimates that he requires a female slave.

The queen wipes her eyes and replies, "Yes, a female slave is for sale
for fifty thousand gold coins. I, who am for sale as such, will obey all
orders except eating table-refuse and indulging in improper intimacy
with males." The Brahmin consents to the terms laid down, pays the
required sum into the hands of the king and takes away the queen. The
king then bewails her thus:--

"It were far better if a thousand thunderbolts had fallen on my head. Oh
my dear queen! Never even in a dream did I think that such a misfortune
would befall you. You mistook a poisonous tree for a sandal-tree. Oh,
how hard is my heart! It does not melt at the sight of my wife sold away
as a slave. Even iron is melted by fire. Oh Providence! I can no longer
bear up my sorrows. Oh Indra I break my head in pieces by thy

At this lamentation of the king, all present become sorry and express
their regrets. After a little while, the sage arrives again, his body
emitting sparks of fire. Seeing him at a distance, the king begins to

As the sage comes up, the king bows to him and says,

"My lord Kausika! I have procured only a half of your fee by the sale of
my wife. Accept it. I shall presently pay the remaining half by the sale
of my own person."

The sage whirls his eyes and exclaims, "Is it a joke? Am I a fit object
for a joke? What shall I do with only half the money? Just pay down the
whole amount. See the sun is setting."

The king replies, "O God! if this does not satisfy you, I pray you wait
a little. If a Chandal is available, I will sell my person to him and
pay your fee." The sage remarks:--

"Then I will stand here and wait. Collect the money without delay."

The king then hawks himself about, "Will any one buy me with half a lakh
of gold coins, and deliver me from an ocean of sorrows." No one responds
to his offer. No buyer appears. The sun is about to set. Death stares
him in the face. Not that he fears death. Why should he fear it? He has
given away his kingdom. His queen has been sold. Life has no further
attraction for him. Death has been stripped of its terrors. But death by
the fire of a Brahmin's anger leads to everlasting hell. He sees the
vision of hell, falls down on the ground like a plantain tree blown by a
tempest, and faints.

Virtue preserves him who practises virtue. Virtue assumes the form of a
Chandal and accompanied by an attendant, makes his appearance, with a
half-burnt bamboo on his shoulders and a chain of skeletons round his
neck. He is ready to buy the king, who now weeps bitterly, and holding
the feet of the sage, entreats him thus:--

"Oh lord Kausika! Do me a favour I pray you. Do not sell me to a
Chandal. Do _you_ rather buy me. I shall be your slave for ever."

On this, the sage flies into a rage and exclaims:--

"Oh villain! Do not trifle with me. You have all this time been
pretending that you want buyers. As soon as a buyer appears in the
field, you feel ashamed to be sold to a Chandal! I cannot brook any more
delay. I take up water to destroy you."

The king begs his pardon, sells himself to the Chandal and pays down the
fee to the sage, who then retires.

The king now puts on the dress of a Chandal and is appointed with two
others to collect rags in a burning-ground. Hideous is the
burning-ground. Dogs and jackals are tearing up carcasses which lie
scattered all round. Vultures are quarrelling among themselves. These
sights unloosen the bonds that bind him to the world. The king is
trembling with fear. His two colleagues have left him. But he will not
leave his station. He must do his duty. The night deepens. The
burning-ground becomes still more hideous. To try the king's sense of
duty, Virtue once more becomes incarnate and this time appears before
the king in a horrible form. The king has never before seen such a
terrible sight, but still he will not leave his station. Not one or two
but myriads of such forms dance before him, but in vain. The king
exclaims, "No one shall be allowed to burn any corpse without depositing
rags and couches with me. I am the agent of the lord of this
burning-ground. I make this proclamation by order of my lord."

No one responds. No voice is heard; only horrible figures are seen
playing around him. After a while, a hermit comes and says.

"I am a hermit. I have resolved to practise some _mantras_. I have come
to know everything about you by my powers of _yoga_. You are a king and
you should protect me from the demons that disturb my meditations."

The king most humbly submits, "My body is not my own; I have sold it to
the lord of the Chandals. How can I forsake my duty to my lord to save

The hermit says, "come and help me if I ever suffer extreme distress."

The king replies, "If I can ever help you without detriment to the
business of my lord, I am ready to do it." The hermit retires, and after
a short time he returns; and says,

"By your help I am now versed in all _mantras_. I am prepared to give
you such a mantra as by its virtue you will be able at once to repair to
Heaven. You need not suffer hell by slavery to a Chandal."

The king replies, "Many thanks for your kind offer. But how can I accept
your offer as this body belongs to a Chandal? I will not go anywhere
before death."

The hermit says, "Then take this money and deliver your wife."

The king thankfully declines the offer with the observation, "I have
sold my queen in my hour of need. To buy her back is not in my power."
The hermit soliloquizes,

"Blessed is Maharaja Harischandra! What fortitude! what wisdom! what
generosity! what a sense of duty! The world has never produced a nobler
man. A tempest shakes even the mountains, but behold! this noblest
specimen of humanity is not moved by the severest of afflictions!

It is morning. The birds are singing. The sun is up in the horizon. The
king is sitting on the banks of the Ganges. He is thinking of his fate
when he hears a female voice crying. He approaches the lady. The scene
is horrible. An unfortunate lady, the queen Saibya who had been deserted
by her husband, has come to burn her son, the support of her life. She
was serving as a slave in the house of the Brahmin who had bought her.
Her son Rohitashya, was stung by a deadly poisonous snake. No body would
help her. She has come to the burning-ground to burn the dead body of
her son. The queen weeps and faints. The king stares at the face of the
corpse for a long time and at last recognises his dead son. He too
faints. After a long time he recovers, and finds that the queen also has
recovered. He thinks of committing suicide, but the body is not his
own. He thinks of pacifying the queen by introducing himself, but his
present costume will perhaps aggravate her sorrows. The queen, looking
up to the skies, exclaims; "It is high time for me to return to the
house of my master. I forget I am a slave. My master will be angry if I
am late. My husband will incur blame if my master is angry. Let me go at

The king reflects, "If my queen is so mindful of her duties to her
master in the midst of such calamities, I must never forget my duty to
my master."

Then he approaches the queen and addresses her thus:--

"Who are you? You are not allowed to burn the corpse before you give up
its clothes to me, the slave of the lord of this place." She replies,

"Please wait a little. I will take off the clothes."

As the queen delivers the clothes into the hands of the slave, she
notices signs of royalty in his hands and is surprised that such a hand
is engaged in so low an office.

"She looks attentively and exclaims in a wild voice, Oh my lord! Oh
Maharaja! you a slave in this burning-ground! Oh lord Kausika! are you
not yet satisfied?" The queen rushes to embrace the king. The king
starts away from her and forbids her saying, "Oh my queen! do not touch
me, I am the slave of a Chandal. Be patient." She faints again.

The king cannot touch her as he is in the garb of a Chandal. After a
while, the queen recovers, and the king addresses her thus:--

"Oh my lady! Abandon lamentations. It is useless to lament. All this is
the result of work in previous lives. I will prepare a funeral pyre.
Apply the sacrament of fire to the dead body and return at once to the
house of your master." The queen is disconsolate and wants to remain
with her husband, who explains the situation thus:--"You have no right
to remain here. Do not forget that your person has been sold to the

The queen understands and sighs.

All on a sudden, flowers are showered on their heads from Heaven, and
musical voices are heard on high proclaiming.

"Blessed is Maharaja Harischandra; Blessed is Rani Shaibya! unrivalled
in this world is the liberality, the patience, the resolution and the
wisdom of the king. No nobler man can be found in the three worlds."

The king and the queen stare motionless towards the Heavens.

Now virtue assumes the form of a hermit and makes this address.

"Victory to Maharaja Harischandra! You have astonished the world, I am
virtue incarnate. Virtue is never vain. As you have stuck to me all
along, I must reward you. I will send you to the heaven of _Brahma_,
where the greatest kings cannot enter by their truth, charity,
straightforwardness and sacrifices. You need not lament any more. Be
patient. By my blessing, your son Rohitashya will instantly regain
life". Rohitashya now starts up.

Then the king perceives, in clear vision acquired by the blessings of
Virtue, that lord Kausika, in order to try his virtue, deprived him of
his kingdom and placed the government in the hands of his own minister.
The Chandal, who is his master, is not a real character but virtue

The Brahmin and his wife, who were the master and mistress of the queen,
were not ordinary persons. The Brahmin was Siva, the god of gods,
incarnate. The Brahmani was the goddess Durga incarnate. By order of
virtue, the king and queen annoint, on the banks of the Ganges,
Rohitashya as king-associate or Yuvaraja, and return to the capital,
amidst the wild rejoicings of the subjects.

After a short stay there, the happy couple repair to the heaven of


The secret loves of Usha, the daughter of the Asura Bana, and Aniruddha,
the grandson of Krishna, are intense. The sage Nareda apprises Krishna
and Balarama, that Indra is again in dread of the demons, and especially
of Bana, who has acquired the particular favour of Siva, and who is
therefore not to be easily subdued. The conference ends by Nareda's
going to Sonapur, the capital of the demon, to endeavour to impair the
friendship between Bana and Siva, whilst Krishna and his brother await
the result.

The excessive arrogance of Bana, in his anxiety to match himself with
Vishnu, has offended the latter, who has accordingly departed for
Kailas, after announcing that Bana's anxiety shall be alleviated
whenever his banner falls. Parvati has also gone to Kailas, after
announcing to Usha that she will shortly behold her lover. Usha is
impatient for the boon conferred by the goddess.

Aniruddha is violently enamoured of a damsel he has seen in his sleep,
and despairs of discovering who she is, when Nareda comes opportunely to
his aid, and informs him that she is the daughter of Bana; on which
Aniruddha determines to go to his capital, first propitiating Jwalamukhi
by penance, in order to obtain the means of entering a city surrounded
by a wall of perpetual flame. The goddess is the form of Durga,
worshipped wherever a subterraneous flame breaks forth, or wherever
jets of carburetted hydrogen gas are emitted from the soil.

Bana's banner has fallen. His minister and wife endeavour to prevail on
him to propitiate Siva, in order to avert the evil omen, but he refuses.

Bringi, a servant of Durga, precedes Aniruddha to prepare the goddess to
grant his request. As he proceeds in his aerial car, he notices the
countries of Orissa, Bengal, Behar, Oude or Ayodhya, Prayaga, Hastinapur
or Delhi and Kurujangal or Tahneser, whence he comes to Jwalamukhi.

Aniruddha repairs to the shrine of the goddess round which goblins
sport, and upon the point of offering himself as a sacrifice, is
prevented by the goddess and receives from her the power of travelling
through the air.

Usha and Chitralekha, her companion, receive a visit from Nareda, in
whose presence the latter unfolds a picture containing portraits of all
the chief characters in Swerga, Patala, and on earth, or Indra, and
other gods; Sesha, Takshaka and the Nagas, and different princes, as the
kings of Magadha, Mathura, Avanti, Madra, Mahishmati, and Viderbha,
Yudhishthira, Krishna, Baladeva, Pradyumna, and finally Aniruddha, whom
Usha recognizes as the individual seen in her dream, and of whom she is
enamoured. Nareda recommends that Chitralekha be sent to Dwaravati to
invite Aniruddha, whom he enables to fly thither, whilst he remains in
charge of Usha, whom he sends to the garden to await her lover's

Aniruddha and Chitralekha arrive at Sonapur and the former is united to
his mistress.

Aniruddha is detected by Bana. An engagement ensues. Krishna, Baladeva,
and Pradyumna coming to the aid of the prince, the day is going ill with
Bana, when Kartikeya, Ganesha, and Siva and Chandi come to his succour.
Notwithstanding the presence of his allies, Bana has all his thousand
arms cut off by Krishna except four. Siva advances to the aid of his
votary, when a combat ensues between the gods which combat Brahma
descends to arrest. The gods embrace one another. Parvati and Brahma
support Bana to make his submission.

Vishnu declares he is less sensible of the wounds inflicted by Bana,
than of the regret he feels at his presumption in contending with Siva.
The latter consoles him by telling him he only did a warrior's duty, and
that military prowess is independent of all motives of love or hatred.

Parvati then brings Usha to the spot, and by her desire, and that of
Siva, Bana gives his daughter to Aniruddha. Siva then elevates him to
the rank of one of his attendants, under the name of Mahakala.


Poverty and Folly are sent by Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, to assail
Sridama, the early companion and fellow-student of Krishna, who has
become obnoxious to the goddess for his attachment to Saraswati; the
goddess of learning. They effect their purpose with Sridama, by
demanding the rites of hospitality, and being accordingly admitted into
his dwelling.

Sridama is persuaded by his wife, Vasumati, who has seen a propitious
dream, to repair to Krishna, to see if his opulent friend will restore
his broken fortunes. He takes with him a handful of rice, dried and
cleaned after boiling, as a present. He arrives at the palace of
Krishna, where he is received with great respect by the host and his two
principal wives, Rukmini and Satyabhama; the former washes his feet, the
latter wipes them, and Krishna sprinkles the remaining water upon his
own head. After recalling some of the occurrences of their juvenile
days, when they were fellow-students, Krishna leads his friend into the
garden, where they remain till towards sunset; when they are summoned to
join the queens and their attendants. Krishna indulges in frolics among
his women. The buffoonery of the Vidushaka amuses the party.

After some time spent in this manner, Sridama takes his leave, and
although dismissed with great reverence, departs as poor as he came. He
recollects this on his way back, and consoles himself with observing
that wealth intoxicates as well as wine, and that the affection of
Krishna is a thing which no one can steal from him. His disciple is not
so submissive, and reminds him that it was not to get mere civility that
he was sent on this errand by his wife.

On arrival, they find, instead of the miserable hovel of Sridama, a
splendid and extensive town, and that Sridama is in great affliction at
the disappearance of his wife, when he is seen and solicited by a
_Kanchuli_ or chamberlain, who calls himself his servant, to enter a
stately palace. Sridama, thinking this is a jest upon his poverty,
threatens to beat him if he does not depart, but the chamberlain
perseveres, and tells him that while he was absent, Krishna had
converted his cottage into a town, named after him Sridamapur, and
supplied it with every article of use or luxury. With much reluctance
and unyielding incredulity Sridama is prevailed upon to enter the
palace, where he finds his wife.

Krishna now comes to pay a visit to his friend. He arrives in his aerial
chariot, accompanied by Satyabhama and the Vidushaka. His bounties are
heartily acknowledged by the object on whom they have been bestowed.




Kansa, the king of Mathura, alarmed by a voice from heaven, that
Krishna, the son of his sister, predestined to destroy him, has escaped
the precautions taken against him, consults with his minister what he
shall do.

The juvenile Krishna performs many exploits. He accomplishes the
destruction of the demon Kesi, one of those infernal beings who in vain
attempted to kill the divine child, instigated by their prescience of
their fate when he should reach maturity.

Akrura, the paternal uncle of Krishna, repairs to Gokul to invite his
nephew to Mathura. Balarama and Krishna, after bowing to their foster
parents, Nanda and Yasoda and receiving their benedictions, depart for

The seniors then express their grief for their loss. While the boys are
proceeding on their journey, they are overtaken by a messenger from
Radha, in consequence of which Krishna determines to spend some time at
Vrindavan. They resume their journey to Mathura. On the way, the youths
kill the royal elephant of Kansa. Then they defeat and slay Kansa's two
wrestlers Chanura and Mushtika. These occurrences are reported to Kansa.
The youths now reach his palace at Mathura and slay him. The boys are
then re-united with their mortal parents Vasudeva and Devaki. To console
Devaki for her brother's death, Krishna installs her father Ugrasena in
the sovereignty of Mathura.


Sermishtha was the daughter of Vrishaperva, king of the Daityas, and
Devayani, the daughter of Sukra, regent of the planet Venus and the
spiritual preceptor of the Daitya race. Devayani having incurred the
displeasure of Sermishtha the latter threw the former into a well, where
she was found by king Yayati, the son of Nahusha. Devayani, on returning
to her father, excited his anger against Vrishaperva, who, to appease
Sukra, consented to give his daughter to Devayani as her servant, with a
thousand other female attendants. Devayani was married to Yayati. At the
time of her marriage, Sukra obtained the king's promise that he would
never associate with Sermishtha; but after some interval, the king
meeting her, fell in love with, and espoused, her privately. The
intrigue continued secret, until Yayati had two sons by Devayani and
three by Sermishtha, when it was discovered by the former, and excited
her resentment as well as that of her father. The violation of the
king's promise was punished by premature decay, as denounced upon him by
Sukra, with permission, however, to transfer his infirmities to anyone
who would acccept them. Yayati appealed to his sons; of whom the
youngest alone, Puru, consented to assume the burden. After a sufficient
period, Yayati took his decrepitude back again, and left the
sovereignty to Puru in reward of his filial piety.

All the sons of Yayati were the founders of distinguished families. The
Pauravas were the descendants of Puru in whose line the Kaurava and the
Pandava families were comprised.


Kalivatsala, or the darling of the age of iniquity, is the sovereign of
Dhermanasa or the destruction of virtue, and he takes as his spiritual
guide, Kukermapanchanana, the Siva of iniquity.

Satyacharya, a pious Brahman returned from Brindavan, who is treated by
the king and his courtiers with great iniquity, holds the following
conversation with his brethren in jail.

Satyacharya says: "How now, holy sirs, how fares it with you?"

The Brahmans in jail reply: "We once had lands in free gifts."

Satyacharya asks, "What then?"

The Brahmans answer: "why, know you not the customs of the country? If
the god of wealth owned lands here that yielded but a grain of corn, the
king would send him in three days to beg alms, clad in tatters and with
a platter in his hand. The characteristics of our sovereign are fondness
for the intoxicating juice of _bhang_, esteem for the wicked, addiction
to vice, and detestation of virtue."

Satyacharya observes: "You are right, what chance is there for the good?
The king is unwise, his associates are wicked, his chief councillor is a
knave, and his minister, a scoundrel. Yet the people are many; why is
not such misconduct resented?"

The Brahmans reply, "The manners of the people are equally depraved;
they are valiant in oppression, skilful in falsehood, and persevering
only in contempt for the pious."

Satyacharya asks, "How are the scribes?"

The Brahmans answer, "They collect the revenues by any expedient, and
vigilantly inflict penalties on the wise. The Brahmans are not allowed
to keep even the dust upon their bodies; the dust accumulated on their
feet is claimed by the Kayeths. What can we say of this reign? The dumb
alone can speak the truth, the deaf hear the law, the sons of the barren
are well-behaved, the blind behold the observance of the scriptures. Our
lands have been given to drunkards, and we are detained in prison for
what our ancestors expended."

Satyacharya observes, "I have heard enough. Better fortunes attend you."

The general Samara Jambuka, the jackal of war, boasts that he can cleave
a roll of butter with his falchion. He trembles from top to toe at the
approach of a mosquito.

The king orders vice to be proclaimed virtue by beat of drum. All the
Brahmans are perpetually banished.






Draupadi is married to the five sons of Pandu, in compliance with the
command of their mother. Yudhishthira, the eldest son of Pandu, loses
every thing including Draupadi at chess-play with Duryodhana, the eldest
of the Kauravas. Draupadi is now dragged by the hair, almost naked, into
the public assembly, an insult in revenge for which ferocious Bhima vows
to slay Duhsasana, the insulter, and drink his blood, and ultimately
fulfils his vow. The Pandava princes then depart to the forest.




Religion and the noble king Reason, accompanied by all the Virtues
namely Faith, Volition, Opinion, Imagination, Contemplation, Devotion,
Quietude, Friendship and others, are banished, from Benares, by the evil
king Error who reigns at Benares, surrounded by his faithful adherents,
the Follies and Vices namely Self-conceit, Hypocrisy, Love, Passion,
Anger, Avarice and others. There is, however, a prophecy that Reason
will some day be re-united with Revelation; the fruit of the union will
be True Knowledge, that will destroy the reign of Error.

The struggle for this union and its consummation are followed by the
final triumph of the good party.




Jimutavahana, a prince of the Vidyadharas, is a Buddhist. He marries
Malayavati, daughter of the king of the Siddhas, a votary of the goddess
Gauri, the wife of the great god Siva. When he comes to know that
Garuda, the bird celebrated in mythology, is used to eat up one snake
each day, he makes up his mind to offer himself to the bird as a victim,
and eventually succeeds in converting Garuda to the principle of
_Ahimsa_ or abstention from slaughter; but he himself is on the point of
succumbing to the wounds he has received, when, through the timely
intervention of the goddess Gouri, he recovers.




Angada, the son of Bali, is sent by Rama to Ravana to demand Sita. He
executes his mission in a most clever and courageous manner. He then
departs from Lanka. Ravana now goes forth to battle and is slain by
Rama. The divine hero then enters the city of Lanka in triumph.


A pair of geese, the _Hansa_ and _Hansi_ inspire Prabhavati, the
daughter of Vajranabha, and Pradyumna, the son of Krishna with a mutual
passion before they have beheld each other. By their contrivance, secret
nuptials are brought about.

The sage Nareda communicates the stolen interviews of the lovers to the
father of the damsel, to whose vengeance Pradyumna is about to fall a
victim, when Krishna and Baladeva with their followers come to the
rescue. A combat ensues in which Vajranabha is defeated and slain. The
engagement is seen by two Gandherbas from their chariots in the air.


The loves of Krishna and Radha are intense. The two lovers often engage
in jealous squabbles.

Chandravali, a nymph of Vrindavan, is enamoured of Krishna and thus
excites the jealousy of Radha.

The Paurnamasi, the personified day of the full moon, interests herself
in the union of Krishna and Radha.


The cattle of king Virat are carried off by Karna and the Kuru princes.
Aryuna recovers them after a great battle. The different chiefs appear,
threaten one another and praise themselves.

Indra and some of his attendants contemplate the fight from the clouds.


The king Anasayindhu, in his progress through his city, regrets to find
everything subverted: that Chandals, not Brahmans, make shoes; that
wives are chaste and husbands constant; and that respect is paid to the
respectable, not to the vile; and that Vyadhisindhu, the doctor, cures
the cholic by applying a heated needle to the palate, and perforates the
pupils of the eyes in order to restore vision.

Sadhhinsaka, the chief of police, reports with great satisfaction that
the city is completely in the hands of thieves; the Commander-in-chief
Ranajambuka, after putting on his armour, valiantly cuts a leech in two.
Mahayatrika, the astrologer, in answer to a question of the time to take
a journey, indicates hours and positions which proclaim approaching

A dispute ensues between Viswabhanda, a Saiva mendicant, and
Kalahankura, his disciple, which they refer to the decision of
Mahanindaka, another Brahman, who asserts that he composed the _vedas_
and visited _Swerga_, where he treated Vrihaspati and Brahma with
contempt and gave Siva a drubbing.


Daksha, the father of Sati or Bhavani and father-in-law of the great god
Siva, institutes a great sacrifice.

The gods and sages assemble on the occasion, Daksha accords them a
cordial reception. He bows down to the feet of the gods, and puts the
dust from under them upon his head. He then proceeds to the place of
sacrifice, reading or reciting the usual formulæ. He orders the
attendants to distribute rice to the Brahmans, for the purpose of
invoking their benedictions. They receive the rice, scatter it and
pronounce the _Swasti Vachana_, or benedictory text. He offers oblation
to fire.

Dadhichi now comes to the sacrifice, when a dispute ensues between him
and the sacrificer, upon the impropriety of omitting to invite Siva; and
the dispute becoming rather hot, Daksha orders his guest to be turned
out. The gods partake of Dadhichi's indignation at the disrespectful
mention of Siva, and rise to depart. Daksha orders his servants to guard
the door and prevent their going forth: the gods, however, force their

The sages then also withdraw, on which Daksha goes out, exclaiming, "I
will give double presents to those who remain." Nareda goes to Kailas
with the news. He enters playing the _Vina_ and singing hymns in honour
of the great god. Nareda's communication to Siva and Bhavani is very

Siva asks, "Now, Nareda, whence come you?" Nareda replies, "Your godship
is omniscient, you know all that has happened, but have asked me through
a wish to hear it from my lips. We were all invited to Daksha's
sacrifice. Dadhichi, finding that you were not invited, took Daksha to
task pretty sharply, and walked off, upon which I come to pay you my
respects." Having said this and prostrated himself on the ground, the
sage, with his lute hanging upon his neck, departed.

Sati now asks leave to go and see her father.

Siva replies, "It is quite contrary to etiquette, to go without an
invitation." She answers, "I need not stand on ceremony with my father."

Siva observes, "How! would you impose upon me with falsehoods? Daksha is
not your father, nor is his wife your mother, you are the father of all
things, the mother of the universe. Those versed in the _Vedas_ declare
you male and female too."

In the end, she is allowed to follow her own inclinations.

She comes to her father, and vainly endeavours to impress him with
respect for her husband. She quits him to throw herself into the
sacrificial fire.

Nareda then appears and tells Daksha to prepare for the consequences of
his folly. Virabhadra, Siva's attendant, then enters and plays some
antics. Shaking the earth with his tread, and filling space with his
extended arms, he rolls his eyes in wrath. Some of the gods he casts on
the ground and tramples on them; he knocks out the teeth of some with
his fists, plucks out the beards of some, and cuts off the ears, arms,
and noses of others; he smites some, and he tosses others into the
sacrificial fire. He decapitates the cause of his master's indignation,
the haughty Daksha.


Mrigankalekha is the daughter of the king of Kamarupa or Assam: she is
beheld by Karpuratilaka, the king of Kalinga, whilst hunting, and the
parties are mutually enamoured.

The obstacle to their union is the love of Sankhapala, a demon, to
oppose whose supernatural powers, Ratnachura, the minister of the king
of Kalinga, who alone is aware of the circumstance, invites to the
palace a benevolent magician, Siddhayogini, and Mrigankalekha is also
lodged in the palace as the friend of the queen Vilasavati.

Notwithstanding these precautions, she is carried off by Sankhapala to
the temple of Kali, which is surrounded by goblins. During the Raja's
peregrinations in his love-frenzy, he passes disconsolate through a wood
in which he inquires of different animals if they have seen his

He now comes to the temple, rescues her, and kills Sankhapala. He is
then united to Mrigankalekha in the presence of her father and brother,
and with the consent of the queen. Before the conclusion of the marriage
rite, he kills also the brother of Sankhapala, who comes to revenge him
in the form of a wild elephant.

The marriage is thus effected through the secret contrivance of the
minister, because the lady's husband is to become the master of the








The city of Pataliputra or Palibothra, the capital of the Nandas, was
situated not far from the confluence of the Ganges and the Sone; and was
on the southern side of the rivers. Nanda, the last king of the Nanda
line, had for his minister the able and experienced Rakshasa.
Chandragupta also called Vrishala and Maurya is identical with
Sandrakottus represented by the Greek writers as the most powerful Raja
in India at the time of Alexander the Great's death. He was a sovereign
of dignity and strength of character and had a high respect for his
minister Chanakya, the Indian Macchiavelli, who was a crafty,
clearheaded, self-confident, intriguing and hard politician, with the
ultimate end of his ambition thoroughly well-determined and directing
all his clearheadedness and intrigue to the accomplishment of that end.
This minister, also called Vishnugupta, is famous as a writer on _Nity_
or "rules of government and polity", and the reputed author of numerous
moral and political precepts commonly current in India. Nanda is slain
by the contrivances of this wily Brahman, who thus assists Chandragupta
to the throne, and becomes his minister. Rakshasa refuses to recognise
the usurper and endeavours to be avenged on him for the ruin of his late

After the assassination of Nanda, Servarthasiddhi is placed on the
throne by Rakshasa but he retires to a life of devotion. Saileswara or
Parvataka or Parvateswara, the king of the Mountains, at first the ally
of Chandragupta, afterwards befriended his opponents and is therefore
slain privily by Chanakya. Vairodhaka, the brother of Parvataka, is
killed by Rakshasa's emissaries by mistake for Chandragupta.

Malayaketu, the son of Parvataka, is a prince whose confidence and
distrust are alike misplaced, who is thoughtless, suspicious, wanting in
dignity, and almost child-like, not to say childish. He leads an army
against Chandragupta but without success. He is so rash and
inconsiderate as to resolve most hastily to undertake war against five
kings at a time.

Rakshasa is a brave soldier but a blundering and somewhat soft-natured
politician, whose faithfulnesss to his original master Nanda prompts him
to wreak vengeance on Chandragupta and Chanakya. He has ultimately to
abandon in despair his self-imposed task, the great aim of his life,
being foiled by the arts of his adversary Chanakya. The proximate motive
of the abandonment, however, is the duty of repaying favours received by
him when he was engaged in his attempts at vengeance. He accidentally
acquires a ring.

Chanakya, whose ability and diplomatic skill are of a high order, lays
out various plottings and machinations to make Chandragupta the
paramount sovereign in India, by winning over the noble Rakshasa to his
master's cause. He tries successfully to effect a reconciliation between
his protegé, and Rakshasa. With this view Rakshasa is rendered by the
contrivances of Chanakya an object of suspicion to the prince Malyaketu
with whom he has taken refuge and is consequently dismissed by him.

In this deserted condition he learns the imminent danger of a dear
friend Chandandasa whom Chanakya is about to put to death, and in order
to effect his liberation surrenders himself to his enemies.

They offer him, contrary to his expectations, the rank and power of
Prime Minister, and the parties are finally friends.

The Nanda dynasty thus comes to an end and Chandragupta becomes the
founder of the Maurya dynasty.

A curious scene in the last Act may be noticed here. A Chandala or
executioner leads a criminal to the place of execution. The latter bears
a stake (_Sula_) on his shoulder, and is followed by his wife and son
who use no expressions suggestive of tenderness but only of sacrifice--a
stern sense of duty. At the impending execution of her husband, she
neither faints nor becomes disconsolate but simply weeps and talks of
her duty.

The executioner calls out--"Make way, make way, good people! let every
one who wishes to preserve his life, his property, or his family, avoid
transgressing against the king as he would, poison." This criminal is
Chandan Das who is put into chains with a view to force his friend
Rakshsa to yield. He gives up his life and property for the sake of his
friend Rakshasa. This conduct is described as casting into the shade the
noble acts of even the Buddhas.




Vidyadhar Malla, the chief of the Karachuli race, a Rajput tribe, was
the king of Triling and Kalinga. Bhagurayana was his minister. Charayana
was his Vidushaka or confidential attendant. Chandraverma, the king of
Lata, was the maternal uncle-in-law of Vidyadhar Malla. He had no son.
To satisfy his desire for a son, he dressed his only daughter
Mrigankavali as a son to pass her off as such. People knew that the
child was a son.

Bhagurayana had heard from the sages that "whosoever shall wed the
daughter of Chandravarma shall become the paramount sovereign." So he
told Chandravarma, "My king desires to see your son." Upon this
Chandravarma sent his child to the queen of Vidyadhara Malla to be taken
care of by her. Thus the minister contrived to bring Mrigankavali to the
palace of his king.

One day, while the king is asleep, Mrigankavali puts a necklace on the
neck of the king, being induced by a maid-servant who had instructions
to do so by the minister. The king takes this as a wonderful dream. The
vision of a beautiful maid agitates his mind. The king thus relates to
Bidushaka the story of his fancied vision, "for the burden of the heart
is lightened by sharing it with a faithful friend."

"A glorious halo appeared before me in my dream, bright as the moon's
resplendent disk; within the orb a beauteous maiden moved as gently
radiant as the lunar rays in autumn skies.

Advancing near me, she inclined her head in reverence, and, as if
pouring ambrosia into my ears, pronounced in softest tones,

'Glory to the deity of love!' Then sighing, she took up this string of
costly pearls and placed it on my neck. This awoke me, I started up and
saw my vision realised. I caught the nymph by her scarf, but she hastily
extricated herself from my hands and fled, leaving me this necklace
alone the evidence of her presence." Bidushaka asks his Majesty, "Was
not the queen with you when you dreamt? What did she do?"

The king replies, "The queen got angry and left me." Bidushaka remarks,
"Why could not you assuage her anger?"

The king answers, "I was absorbed in the maid of my vision."

The Vidushaka, however, treats the whole as a dream, and reproaches the
king for his fickleness, as he had just before fallen in love with
Kuvalayamala, the princess of Kuntala, and recommends him to be content
with the queen, as "a partridge in the hand is better than a pea-hen in
the forest."

The prince and the Vidushaka then go into the garden by the back-door,
where, over the edge of a terrace, they see some of the fair tenants of
the inner apartments amusing themselves with swinging. Amongst them the
king recognises the countenance he has seen in his dream, but the party
disappear on the advance of the king and his friend.

The king then enters a pleasure-house or pavilion called the
_kelikailas_ or mountain of sport built for him by the minister.

It is a beautiful palace built of crystal, and decorated with statues
and paintings. One of the paintings is thus described:

"There is your Majesty at _pasa_ (dice) with the queen: behind you
stands one damsel with the betel box, whilst another is waving the
_chownri_ over your head: the dwarf is playing with the monkey, and the
parrot abusing the Vidushaka." The chamber also contains the portrait of
Mrigankavali, the damsel whom the prince has really seen in his supposed
dream. There is also a statue of her, whence the drama is named _Viddha
Salabhanjika_, meaning a curved statue or effigy.

The king discovers the statue. He thinks, "Who will carve on the wall
the person I dreamed of? No one was present when I dreamt. Has anyone
carved the statue out of his fancy? A real person may exist in this
world or how can an exact figure come here?"

He now verily believes the dream to be a reality. He then puts the
necklace of his dream on the neck of the carved statue.

Finally the lady is herself beheld through the transparent wall of the
pavilion, but runs away on being observed. The king becomes enamoured of
her. He and his friend follow her but in vain. The bards proclaim it at
noon, and the two friends repair to the queen's apartments to perform
the midday ceremonies.

Kuvalayamala, the object of the king's passion before encountering his
new flame, is the daughter of Chandramahasena, the king of Kuntala. She
has been sent to Vidyadhara Malla's queen, as the betrothed bride of the
supposed son of Chandraverma, who is the queen's maternal uncle.
Mekhala, the queen's foster-sister, practises a frolic on Charayana. He
is promised a new bride by the queen, and the ceremony is about to take
place when the spouse proves to be a "lubberly boy"; he is highly
indignant at the trick, and goes off threatening vengeance.

The king having followed and pacified his companion, they go off into
the garden, where they see the damsel Mrigankavali playing with ball:
she still however flies their advance. Presently they overhear a
conversation between her and one of her companions, from which it
appears, that notwithstanding her shyness she is equally enamoured of
the king.

Her dress is the contrivance of the minister, at whose instigation,
Mrigankavali is persuaded by Sulakshana to believe that she is to behold
the present deity of love, and is introduced by a sliding door into the
king's chamber. The consequence of the interview is to render
Mrigankavali passionately enamoured of the king.

One day, the queen, in order to deceive Charayana, manages to celebrate
a marriage between him and a son of a maid-servant veiled as a female.
The trick is discovered. He is highly indignant.

He now retaliates with the help of the king. He induces Sulakshana, one
of the female attendants of the queen, to ascend a _Bakula_ tree and
thence send a message in a nasal tone, as if from the sky, to Mekhala,
the foster-sister and chief attendant of the queen.

"Thou shalt die at this spot on the full moon day of _Baisakh_." After
many entreaties, the heavenly voice prescribes a relief, "Thou art safe
if thou canst pass through the legs of a Brahmin skilled in music and
gratified with a fee." Charayana, just the kind of Brahmin required,
arrives at this juncture. The king and the queen are present. Mekhala
and the queen, both overcome with concern, entreat Charayana to be the
Brahmin that shall preserve the life of the former. He consents. As
Mekhala tries to pass between his legs, he mounts on her back and says,
"you are now caught in your turn. You deceived me once. Now marry me."
He triumphs in the humiliation he has inflicted on her. The queen now
perceives the intrigue of the king, is in her turn incensed, goes off in
a pet and resolves to take revenge.

Chandamahasen, the king of Kuntala as a defeated prince now resides with
his daughter Kubalayamala under the protection of the victorious king.
The king sees her one day as she rises after bathing in the Narbadda. He
becomes enamoured of her and wishes to marry her. The queen gets scent
of the matter. To prevent the curse of co-wifeship, the queen now
resolves to get her husband married to the son of her maternal uncle so
that he may be ashamed into abandoning his polygamous tendency.

The king and the Vidushaka seek the garden, where it is now moon-light.
Mrigankavali and her friend Vilakshana also come thither, and the lovers
meet: this interview is broken off by a cry that the queen is coming,
and they all separate abruptly.

At dawn, Charayana's wife is asleep. In her sleep, however, she is very
communicative, and repeats a supposed dialogue between the queen and the
Raja, in which the former urges the latter to marry Mrigankavali, the
sister of the supposed Mrigankavarma, come on a visit, it is pretended,
to her brother--this being a plot of the queen's to cheat the king into
a sham marriage, by espousing him to one she believes to be a boy.

The Vidushaka suspects the trick, however, and wakes his wife, who rises
and goes to the queen. The Vidushaka joins his master. The king, who is
already the husband of the princesses of Magadha, Malava, Panchala,
Avanti, Jalandhara and Kerala, is wedded to Mrigankavali. As soon as the
ceremony is gone through, a messenger from the court of Chandraverma
arrives to announce:--

"O queen! His Majesty Chandravarma wishes it to be known that
Mrigankavarma is not his son but his daughter. In the absence of a son
he dressed her as such to satisfy his desire for a son. Now that a son
has been born to him, it is not necessary to keep up the pretence. The
king requests you to settle a suitable marriage for her. The sages have
prophesied paramount sovereignty for her husband."

The queen becomes stunned and soliloquises:--

"What is play to me, Providence ordains to be a stern fact. Man
proposes, God disposes." She now finds that she has taken herself in,
and given herself another rival wife. As the matter is past remedy,
however, she assents with a good grace. The minister is glad that his
aims are fulfilled. All are happy, Why should Kuvalayamala alone be
sorry? The queen therefore allows her lord to marry Kuvalyamala.

To crown the king's happiness, a messenger, sent by the General of His
Majesty's forces, now arrives from the camp with the news that the
allied armies of Kernata, Simhala, Pandya, Murala, Andhra, and Konkana
have been defeated, and Virapala, king of Kuntala, the ally of
Vidyadhara Malla, reseated on a throne, from which his kinsman,
supported by those troops, had formerly expelled him. The authority of
Vidyadhara Malla as paramount sovereign is now declared to extend from
the mouths of the Ganges to the sea, and from the Narbada to the
Tamraperni in the Deccan.


A holy seer announces to Yaugandharayana, the chief minister of Vatsa,
the king of Kausambi, that whoever shall wed Ratnavali, the fair
daughter of Vikramabahu, the king of _Sinhala_ or Ceylon and maternal
uncle of Vasavadatta, the queen of Vatsa, should become the emperor of
the world. The faithful minister, desirous of securing paramount
sovereignty for his master, sends, without his knowledge and consent, an
envoy to the court of Vikramabahu to negotiate the match. Vikramabahu
declines to inflict the curse of co-wifeship upon his daughter and
niece. The disappointed envoy returns home.

The premier is sorry, but does not lose hope. After much deliberation,
he hits upon an ingenious device. He proclaims in Ceylon by agents that
queen Vasavadatta is dead, being burnt by chance and that the king,
though much grieved, has at last consented, at the request of friends
and relatives, to marry again. The intelligence reaches the ears of
Vikramabahu who believes it.

The premier now sends Babhravya as envoy to the Court of Ceylon to
reopen the question of Ratnavali's marriage with Vatsa. Vikramabahu,
after consulting his queen, consents to the proposal. He has Ratnavali
decked in all ornaments including a single-stringed necklace round her
neck and sends her away on board a ship, in company with his own
ambassador Vasubhuti and Babhravya. He waits on the shore till the ship
is out of sight and then returns home sorry at parting with his

A terrible tempest wrecks the ship. A merchant of Kausambi finds
Ratnavali floating in mid-sea, saves her life and brings her to the
minister who thanks him heartily for the favour and offers a reward. The
merchant thus expresses his unwillingness to accept it, "Sir, under the
rule of our gracious king, the weak do not fear the strong; the rich
cannot oppress the poor; the word "robber" has become obsolete; the sick
and the orphans are being treated by the best of physicians and are free
from any want of food and clothing; children are being properly
educated; drought is never heard of; the highways are wide, clean, and
well-guarded; communications are safe. If any loyal subject can be of
any service to such a king, he does only his bare duty and should not
accept any reward." He at last accepts the reward at the repeated
requests of the minister and goes home.

Then the minister interviews the queen, conceals the real facts and
addresses her thus:--

"May it please your Majesty. I have received this girl from a merchant
who told me that he had rescued her in the sea, but could not say
anything more about her and her whereabouts. From her appearance she
seems to be a respectable lady. I beseech your Majesty to take care of
her." The queen takes the girl as one of her attendants--the girl who is
destined to make her husband the lord of the world! The queen names her
Sagarika or the Ocean Maid. The princess, who has been attended by
hundreds of maidservants, is now reduced, by a strange irony of fate,
to the position of a maid-servant herself!

The Chamberlain Babhravya and Vasubhuti by some means reach the shore
and are on their way to _Kausambi_.

Vatsa comes forth to behold from the terrace of his palace the frolic
merriment with which his subjects celebrate the festival of _Kamadeva_,
the god of love. Wearied of tales of war, and seeking most his
reputation in his people's hearts, he issues forth attended by his
confidential companion Vasantaka, like the flower-armed deity himself,
descended to take a part in the happiness of his worshippers. The king

"I scarcely can express the content I now enjoy. My kingdom is rid of
every foe; the burden of my government reposes on able shoulders; the
seasons are favourable; and my subjects, prosperous and happy. In
Vasavadatta, the daughter of Pradyota, I have a wife whom I adore, and
in Vasantaka, a friend in whom I can confide. Attended by such a friend,
at such a season, and so disposed I might fancy myself the deity of
desire, and this vernal celebration held in honour of myself. Kausambi
outvies the residence of the god of wealth. Her numerous sons are clad
in cloth of gold, decked with glittering ornaments and tossing their
heads proudly with splendid crests.

Vasantaka says:--

"Observe the general joy. As if intoxicated with delight, the people
dance along the streets, sporting merrily with each other's persons and
mutually scattering the yellow-tinted fluid. On every side, the music
of the drum and the buzz of frolic crowds fill all the air. The very
atmosphere is of a yellow hue, with clouds of flowery fragrance."

At the request of the queen, conveyed through her attendants, the king
proceeds with his friend to join her in offering homage to the image of
the flower-armed deity, which stands at the foot of the red _Asoka_
tree. The queen enters the garden accompanied by Kanchanmala, her
principal attendant, Sagarika and other damsels. Noticing Sagarika, the
queen thinks, "What carelessness! an object I have hitherto so
cautiously concealed, thus heedlessly exposed! I must remove her hence
before the arrival of the king." She says, "How now, Sagarika, what
makes you here? where is my favourite starling, that I left to your
charge, and whom it seems you have quitted for this ceremony? Return to
your place." Sagarika withdraws to a short distance and thinks, "the
bird is safe with my friend Susangata. I should like to witness the
ceremony. I wonder if _Annaga_ is worshipped here as in my father's
mansion! I will keep myself concealed amongst the shrubs and watch them,
and for my own presentation to the deity I will go, cull a few of these
flowers." The king now joins the queen. Kanchanmala delivers the
accustomed gifts of sandal, saffron, and flowers to the queen, who
offers them to the image. The king thus eulogises the beauty of the
queen, "Whilst thus employed, my love, you resemble a graceful creeper
turning round a coral tree: your robes of the orange dye, your person
fresh from the bath. As rests your hand upon the stem of the _Asoka_,
it seems to put forth a new and lovelier shoot. The unembodied god
to-day will regret his disencumbered essence, and sigh to be material,
that he might enjoy the touch of that soft hand."

The worship of the divinity concluded, the queen worships the king.
Sagarika views the scene, mistakes the king for the god and observes,
"What do I see? Can this be true? Does then the deity, whose effigy only
we adore in the dwelling of my father, here condescend to accept in
person the homage of his votaries? I, too, though thus remote, present
my humble offering."

She throws down the flowers and continues:--"Glory to the flower-armed
god: may thy auspicious sight both now and hereafter prove not to have
been vouchsafed to me in vain!"

She bows down, then rising looks again, and observes:--

"The sight, though oft repeated, never wearies. I must tear myself from
this, lest some one should discover me." She then withdraws a little,
hears a bard sing a ballad in praise of the king, perceives her mistake
and asks herself, "Is this Udayana, to whom my father destined me a
bride?" She becomes enamoured of the king. The king and the queen now
rise to return to the palace.

Sagarika thinks, "They come! I must fly hence. Ah me, unhappy! no longer
to behold him, whom I could gaze upon for ever."

The king addresses his queen thus:--"Come, love, thou puttest the night
to shame. The beauty of the moon is eclipsed by the loveliness of thy
countenance, and the lotus sinks humbled into shade; the sweet songs of
thy attendant damsels discredit the murmurs of the bees, and mortified
they hasten to hide their disgrace within the flowery blossom." The king
and the queen return to the palace.

Sagarika enters a plantain bower with a brush and pallet in order to
paint a picture and soliloquises thus: "Be still, my foolish heart, nor
idly throb for one so high above thy hopes. Why thus anxious to behold
that form, one only view of which has inspired such painful agitation?
Ungrateful, too, as weak, to fly the breast that has been familiar to
thee through life, and seek another, and as yet but once beheld, asylum.
Alas! Why do I blame thee! the terror of _Ananga's_ shaft has rendered
thee a fugitive;--let me implore his pity. Lord of the flowery bow,
victor of demons and of gods! dost thou not blush to waste thy might
upon a weak defenceless maiden, or art thou truly without form and
sense? Ah me, I fear my death impends, and this the fatal cause." She
looks at the picture and goes on, "No one approaches; I will try and
finish the likeness I am here attempting to portray. My heart beats
high, my hand trembles, yet I must try, and whilst occasion favours me,
attempt to complete these lineaments, as the only means to retain them
in my sight." She draws the picture, raising her head beholds her friend
Susangata with a _Sarika_ or talking bird in a cage, and hides the
picture. Susangata sits down, puts her hand upon the picture and asks,
"who is this you have delineated?"

Sagarika answers, "The deity of the festival, _Ananga_." Susangata
observes, "It is cleverly done, but there wants a figure to complete
it. Let me have it, and I will give the god his bride." She takes the
paper and draws the likeness of Sagarika. Sagarika expresses anger. Her
friend remarks, "Do not be offended without cause. I have given your
_Kamadeva_ my _Rati_, that is all. But come, away with disguise, and
confess the truth." Seeing that her friend has discovered her secret,
Sagarika is overcome with shame and entreats her to promise that no body
else shall be made acquainted with her weakness. Her friend replies,
"why should you be ashamed? Attachment to exalted worth becomes your
native excellence. But be assured I will not betray you; it is more
likely this prattling bird will repeat our conversation." The friend
brings some leaves and fibres of the lotus, and binds the former with
the latter upon Sagarika's bosom. She exclaims, "Enough, enough, my
friend, take away these leaves and fibres,--it is vain to offer relief.
I have fixed my heart where I dare not raise my hopes. I am overcome
with shame--I am enslaved by passion--my love is without return--death,
my only refuge." She faints and recovers after a short while. A noise
behind proclaims that a monkey has escaped from the stable, and,
rattling the ends of his broken chain of gold, he clatters along. Afraid
of the advent of the monkey, they both rush to hide in the shade of a
_tamala_ grove, leaving the drawing behind. The ape breaks the cage to
get at the curds and rice and lets the _Sarika_ fly.

Vasantaka now notices that the jasmine has been covered with countless
buds, as if smiling disdainfully upon the queen's favourite _Madhavi_.
He is surprised at the most marvellous power of the venerable
Sri-Khanda-Dasa, a great sage come to court from _Sri-Parvata_, by whose
simple will the strange event has happened. He thinks of going to the
king to inform his Majesty when the king appears. He congratulates his
Majesty, on his propitious fortune. The king observes, "Inconceivable is
the virtue of drugs, and charms, and gems. Lead the way, and let these
eyes this day obtain by the sight the fruit of their formation."

Vasantaka advances, stops to listen and turns back in alarm for he
fancies a goblin in yonder _Bakula_ tree. The goblin turns out a
starling. The courtier remarks, "she says, give the Brahman something to
eat." The king observes, "something to eat is ever the burden of the
glutton's song. Come, say truly, what does she utter. The friend listens
and repeats, "Who is this you have delineated? Do not be offended
without cause; I have given your _Kamadeva_ my _Rati_. Why should you be
ashamed? Attachment to exalted worth becomes your native excellence.
Take away these lotus leaves and fibres--it is in vain you strive to
offer me relief. I have fixed my heart where I dare not raise my
hopes;--I am overcome with shame and despair, and death is my only
refuge." The king interprets thus:--"Oh, I suppose some female has been
drawing her lover's portrait, and passing it off on her companion as the
picture of the god of love: her friend has found her out; and
ingeniously exposed her evasion, by delineating her in the character of
_Kama-deva's_ bride. The lady that is pictured is very handsome. Some
young female may be supposed to have spoken, indifferent to life,
because uncertain of her affection being returned. The delicate maid
entrusts her companion with the sorrows of her breast: the tattling
parrot or imitative starling repeats her words, and they find an
hospitable welcome in the ears of the fortunate. The companion, laughing
loudly, observes, "You may as well drop these evasive interpretations;
why not say at once, "the damsel doubts my returning her passion." Who
but yourself could have been delineated as the god of the flowery bow?".

The friend claps his hands and laughs. His obstreperous mirth frightens
the bird away. She perches on the plantain bower. They follow her there.
Vasantaka finds a picture and shows it to the king, who gives him a
golden bracelet. Looking at it, the king dwells upon the beauties of the

Susangata and Sagarika hide themselves behind the plantain trees and
overhear the conversation between the king and his companion. Susangata
remarks, "You are in luck, girl; your lover is dwelling upon your
praises. The bird, as I told you, has repeated our conversation."
Sagarika thinks to herself, "What will he reply? I hang between life and
death." The king remarks farther to his companion, "My sight insatiate
rests upon her graceful limbs and slender waist. I cannot deny that she
has flatteringly delineated my likeness, nor doubt her sentiments--for
observe the traces of the tear that has fallen upon her work, like the
moist dew that starts from every pore of my frame." Sagarika says to
herself, "Heart, be of good cheer! your passion is directed to a
corresponding object." Susangata now comes forward, so as to be seen by
Vasantaka. At this the king, on the advice of his companion, covers the
picture with his mantle. Susangata says, "I am acquainted with the
secret of the picture and some other matters of which I shall apprise
her Majesty." The king takes off his bracelet and other ornaments and
offers them to her with the object of bribing her to be silent. She
replies, "Your Majesty is bountiful. You need not fear me. I was but in
jest, and do not want these jewels. The truth is, my dear friend,
Sagarika is very angry with me for drawing her picture, and I shall be
much obliged to your Majesty to intercede for me and appease her
resentment." The king springs up and exclaims, "Where is she? Lead me to

Then all advance to Sagarika. She thinks, "He is here--I tremble at his
sight. I can neither stand nor move--what shall I do?" Vasantaka, seeing
her, exclaims, "A most surprising damsel, truly; such another is not to
be found in this world. I am confident that when she was created,
_Brahma_ was astonished at his own performance." The king is struck with
her and observes, "such are my impressions. The four mouths of _Brahma_
must at once have exclaimed in concert, bravo, bravo! when the deity
beheld these eyes more beauteous than the leaves of his own lotus; and
his head must have shaken with wonder, as he contemplated her
loveliness, the ornament of all the world." Sagarika prepares to go away
when the king addresses her thus, "You turn your eyes upon your friend
in anger, lovely maid; yet such is their native tenderness that they
cannot assume a harsh expression. Look thus, but do not leave us, for
your departure hence will alone give me pain." Susangata now advises the
king to take Sagarika by the hand and pacify her. The king approves the
advice and acts up to it. Vasantaka congratulates the king on his
unprecedented fortune.

The king replies, "You say rightly--she is the very deity Lakshmi
herself. Her hand is the new shoot of the _Parijata_ tree, else whence
distil these dewdrops of ambrosia?" Susangata remarks, "It is not
possible, my dear friend, you can remain inexorable whilst honoured thus
with his Majesty's hand."

Sagarika frowns on her friend and asks her to forbear. At this time,
Vasantaka, in testiness of temper, raises a false alarm by proclaiming
that the queen is approaching. The king lets go Sagarika's hand in
alarm. Sagarika and her companion go off hastily behind the _tamala_

After a short time, the queen approaches the king. By order of the king,
Vasantaka hides the picture quickly under his arm. The king proposes to
visit, in the company of the queen, the Jasmine budded. The queen
declines. Vasantaka takes it as an acknowledgment of defeat on her part
and cries out Huzza! He waves his hand and dances; the picture falls.
Kanchanmala, an attendant of the queen, picks up the picture and shows
it to her mistress. The queen, whose jealousy is excited by the
discovery of the picture, demands an explanation from the king.
Vasantaka volunteers to offer the explanation thus:--"I was observing,
madam, that it would be very difficult to hit my friend's likeness, on
which his Majesty was pleased to give me this specimen of his skill."
The king confirms the explanation. The queen observes, "And the female
standing near you--I suppose this is a specimen of Vasantaka's skill."
The king replies, "What should you suspect? That is a mere fancy
portrait, the original was never seen before." Vasantaka supports the
king thus, "I will swear to this, by my Brahmanical thread, that the
original was never seen before by either of us." Not satisfied with the
explanation, the queen remarks, "My lord, excuse me. Looking at the
picture has given me a slight headache. I leave you to your amusements."

The king observes, "What can I say to you, dearest? I really am at a
loss. If I ask you to forgive me, that is unnecessary, if you are not
offended; and how can I promise to do so no more, when I have committed
no fault, although you will not believe my assertions?" The queen,
detaching herself gently and with politeness, takes leave and goes away
with her attendant. Vasantaka remarks, "Your Majesty has had a lucky
escape. The queen's anger has dispersed like summer clouds." The king
observes. "Away, blockhead, we have no occasion to rejoice; could you
not discover the queen's anger through her unsuccessful attempts to
disguise it? Her face was clouded with a passing frown. As she hung down
her head, she looked on me with an affected smile. She gave utterance to
no angry words, it is true, and the swelling eye glowed not with
rage--but a starting tear was with difficulty repressed; and although
she treated me with politeness, struggling indignation lurked in every
gesture. We must endeavour to pacify her."

To insure the vigilance of Kanchanmala, the queen gives her some of her
own clothes and ornaments. With these it is plotted to equip Sagarika as
the queen. A stolen interview between the king and Sagarika, thus
disguised, is arranged to take place at the _Madhava_ bower about
sunset. The queen gets scent of the matter and forestalls Sagarika by
meeting the king at the appointed time and place. The king, mistaking
her for Sagarika, thus speaks his honest self! "My beloved Sagarika, thy
countenance is radiant as the moon, thy eyes are two lotus buds, thy
hand is the full blown flower, and thy arms, its graceful filaments.
Come thou, whose form is the shrine of ecstasy, come to my arms."

The queen throws off her veil and says:--"Believe me still Sagarika, my
good lord; your heart is so fascinated by her, you fancy you behold
Sagarika in everything." The king replies, "forgive me, dearest." The
queen remarks, "Address not this to me, my lord--the epithet is
another's property." The king falls at her feet. The queen observes,
"Rise, my lord, rise! that wife must be unreasonable indeed, who, with
such evidence of her lord's affection, can presume to be offended. Be
happy, I take my leave." She now goes away.

Sagarika, dressed as the queen, goes some way to meet the king when she
thinks of putting an end at once to her sufferings and her life and
fastens the noose round her neck with the fibres of the _Madhavi_. The
king, who is seeking for the queen in hopes to pacify her anger,
discovers Sagarika on the way and mistakes her for the queen. He rushes
to her and tears off the tendril. He soon discovers his mistake,
embraces her and observes, "When the bosom of my queen swells with
sighs, I express concern; when she is sullen, I soothe her; when her
brows are bent, and her face is distorted with anger, I fall prostrate
at her feet. These marks of respect are due to her exalted position; but
the regard that springs from vehement affection, that is yours alone."

At this time, the queen, who has overheard the speech, comes forward and
says, "I believe you, my lord, I believe you." The king explains his
conduct thus:--"Why, then, you need not be offended. Cannot you perceive
that I have been attracted hither, and misled by the resemblance of your
dress and person? Be composed, I beg you." He falls at her feet. She
observes, "Rise, rise, let not my exalted station put you to such
unnecessary inconvenience."

Vasantaka takes up the noose, shows it to the queen and explains his
conduct thus, "It is very true, madam, I assure you, that, deceived by
the belief that you were attempting to destroy yourself, I brought my
friend to this spot, to preserve, as I thought, your life." By order of
the queen, Kanchanmala puts the noose over his neck, beats him and
carries him off an unfortunate captive. The king thinks, "What an
unlucky business this is! What is to be done? How shall I dissipate the
rage that clouds the smiling countenance of the queen! How rescue
Sagarika from the dread of her resentment, or liberate my friend
Basantaka? I am quite bewildered with these events, and can no longer
command my ideas. I will go in, and endeavour to pacify the queen." The
queen regales Vasantaka with cakes from her own fair hands, presents him
with a dress and restores him to liberty. Susangata prays him to accept
a diamond necklace which Sagarika has left with her for presentation to
him. He declines the offer. Looking at it attentively he wonders where
she could have procured such a valuable necklace. They both go to the
king who has gone from the queen's apartments to the crystal alcove and
is lamenting thus:--"Deceitful vows, tender speeches, plausible excuses
and prostrate supplications had less effect upon the queen's anger than
her own teaks; like water upon the fire they quenched the blaze of her
indignation. I am now only anxious for Sagarika. Her form, as delicate
as the petal of the lotus, dissolving in the breath of inexperienced
passion, has found a passage through the channels by which love
penetrates, and is lodged deep in my heart. The friend to whom I could
confide my secret sorrows is the prisoner of the queen." Vasantaka now
informs the king that he has been restored to liberty. Asked about
Sagarika he hangs down his head and declares that he cannot utter such
unpleasant tidings. The king infers that Sagarika is no more and faints.
The friend says, "my friend, revive--revive! I was about to tell you,
the queen has sent her to Ougein--this I called unpleasant tidings,
Susangata told me so,--and what is more, she gave me this necklace to
bring to your Majesty." Vasantaka gives the king the necklace which he
applies to his heart to alleviate his despair. By command, the courtier
applies the ornament round the neck of the king. At this time,
Vijayavarman, the nephew of Rumanwat the general of the state, arrives
to announce:--"Glory to your Majesty! your Majesty's fortune is
propitious in the triumphs of Rumanwat. By your Majesty's auspices the
_Kosalas_ are subdued. On receiving your Majesty's commands, my uncle
soon collected a mighty army of foot, and horse, and elephants, and
marching against the king of Kosala, surrounded him in a strong position
in the Vindhya mountains. Impatient of the blockade, the _Kosala_
monarch prepared his troops for an engagement. Issuing from the heights,
the enemy's forces came down upon us in great numbers, and the points of
the horizon were crowded with the array of mighty elephants, like
another chain of mountains: they bore down our infantry beneath their
ponderous masses: those who escaped the shock were transpierced by
innumerable arrows and the enemy flattered himself he had for once
disappointed our commander's hopes. Fires flashed from the blows of
contending heroes, helmets and heads were cloven in twain--the broken
armour and scattered weapons were carried away in torrents of blood, and
the defiance of the king of _Kosala_, in the van of his army, was heard
by our warriors; when our chief alone confronted him, and slew the
monarch on his furious elephant with countless shafts. All honour to our
gallant foe, the king of _Kosala_; for glorious is the warrior's death
when his enemies applaud his prowess. Rumanwat then appointed my elder
brother, Sanjayavarman, to govern the country of _Kosala_, and making
slow marches in consequence of the number of his wounded, returned to
the capital. He is now arrived." The king applauds his general and
commands the distribution of the treasures of his favour.

Samvarasiddhi, a magician from Ougein, now interviews the king. The
magician, waving a bunch of peacock's feathers, observes, "Reverence to
Indra, who lends our art his name. What are your Majesty's commands?
Would you see the moon brought down upon earth, a mountain in mid air, a
fire in the ocean, or night at noon? I will produce them--Command. What
need of many words? By the force of my master's spells, I will place
before your eyes the person whom in your heart you are most anxious to

The king not wishing to see the performance alone, summons the queen who
arrives soon. The king leads her to a seat, sits beside her and commands
the magician to display his power.

The magician waves his plumes and exhibits most wonderful scenes.
_Brahma_ appears throned upon the lotus; _Sankara_ appears with the
crescent moon, his glittering crest; _Hari_, the destroyer of the demon
race, in whose four hands the bow, the sword, the mace and the shell are
borne, is observable. _Indra_, the king of _Swarga_, is seen mounted on
his stately elephant. Around them countless spirits dance merrily in mid
air, sporting with the lovely nymphs of heaven, whose anklets ring
responsive to the measure. The king and queen look up and rise from
their seats. At this time, a female attendant appears to announce;--"So
please your Majesty, the minister Yaugandharayana begs to inform you,
that Vikrambahu, the king of Ceylon, has sent, along with your own
messenger who returns, the councillor Vasubhuti; be pleased to receive
him as the season is auspicious. The minister will also wait upon you as
soon as he is at leisure." The queen observes, "Suspend this spectacle,
my lord. Vasubhuti is a man of elevated rank; he is also of the family
of my maternal uncle, and should not be suffered to wait; let us first
see him." The king orders the suspension of the show, the magician
retires promising to exhibit yet some sights.

Vasubhuti, after the customary exchange of courtesies, thus relates his
story:--"In consequence of the prophesy of a seer, that whoever should
wed Ratnavali, my master's daughter, should become the emperor in the
world, your Majesty's minister solicited her for your bride; unwilling,
however, to be instrumental in the uneasiness of Vasavadatta, the king
of Simhala declined compliance with his suit. My master, understanding
at last that the queen was deceased, consented to give his daughter to
you. We were deputed to conduct her hither, when alas, our vessel was
wrecked." The envoy, overpowered by sorrows, is unable to continue the
story and weeps. The queen exclaims, "Alas, unhappy that I am! Loved
sister Ratnavali, where art thou? Near me and reply."

The king consoles the queen thus:--

"The fate that causes, may remove our sorrows."

A cry is now heard from behind that the inner apartments are on fire.
The king starts up wildly and exclaims, "Vasavadatta burnt to death! my
queen, my love!"

The queen exclaims, "What extravagance is this--behold me at your side.
But ah! help, help, my lord. I think not of myself but poor Sagarika.
She is in bonds; my cruelty has kept her captive--and she will be lost
without some aid--haste, haste and save her!" The king flies to her
rescue, precipitates himself into the flames and takes her in his arms.
He pauses--looks around--closes his eyes, and reopens them. The flames
disappear. The palace stands unharmed. The king observes, "This must
have been a dream, or is it magic?" Vasantaka replies, "The latter, no
doubt; did not that conjuring son of a slave say, he had still something
for your Majesty to see?"

The king says to the queen,

"Here, madam, is Sagarika rescued in obedience to your commands." The
queen smiling replies, "I am sensible of your obedience, my lord." She
now informs all present, "Yaugandharayana presented her to me, and told
me she had been rescued from the sea: it was hence we designated her
Sagarika or the ocean Maid." The likeness--the necklace--the recovery of
the damsel from the sea--leave no doubt in the mind of Vasubhuti that
this is the daughter of the king of Simhala, Ratnavali. Vasubhuti
advances to her who looks at him. They recognize each other and both
faint. After some time they recover. As Ratnavali goes to embrace the
queen at her invitation, she stumbles. At the request of the queen who
blushes for her cruelty, the king takes the chains off Ratnavali's feet.
Yaugandharayana now explains his conduct thus, "It was formerly
announced to us by a holy seer, that the husband of the princess of
Simhala should become the emperor of the world. We therefore earnestly
applied to her father to give her hand to our sovereign; but unwilling
to be cause of uneasiness to the queen, the monarch of Simhala declined
compliance with our request: we therefore raised a report that
Vasavadatta had perished by a fire at Lavanaka, and Babhravya was
despatched with the news to the court of Simhala. Vikrambahu then
consented to our proposal and sent his daughter on board a ship
accompanied by Vasubhuti and Babhravya. The ship was wrecked. The
princess was rescued from the sea by a merchant who brought her to me. I
placed her with the queen in a very unsuitable station as I expected you
would see her in the inner apartments, and take pleasure in her sight. I
had some concern in the appearance of the magician who had conjured up a
vision of the gods and a conflagration, as no other means remained of
restoring the damsel to your presence and creating an opportunity for
Vasubhuti to see and recognise the princess." The queen now puts on
Ratnavali her own jewels, then takes her by the hand and presents her to
the king. Ratnavali bows to the queen who embraces her. The king
observes, "My cares are all rewarded. Nothing more is necessary,
Vikrambahu is my kinsman, Sagarika, the essence of the world, the source
of universal victory, is mine, and Vasavadatta rejoices to obtain a
sister. The _Kosalas_ are subdued: what other object does the world
present for which I could entertain a wish? This be alone my prayer; may
Indra with seasonable showers render the earth bountiful of grain; may
the presiding Brahmans secure the favour of the gods by acceptable
sacrifices; may the association of the pious confer delight until the
end of time, and may the appalling blasphemies of the profane be
silenced for ever."



The purposes for which an ancient language may be studied are its
philology and its literature, or the arts and sciences, the notions and
manners, the history and beliefs of the people by whom it was spoken.
Particular branches may be preferably cultivated for the understanding
of each of these subjects, but there is no one species which will be
found to embrace so many purposes as the dramatic. The dialogue varies
from simple to elaborate, from the conversation of ordinary life to the
highest refinements of poetical taste. The illustrations are drawn from
every known product of art, as well as every observable phenomenon of
nature. The manners and feelings of the people are delineated, living
and breathing before us, and history and religion furnish the most
important and interesting topics to the bard. Wherever, therefore, there
exists a dramatic literature, it must be pre-eminently entitled to the
attention of the philosopher as well as the philologist, of the man of
general literary tastes as well as the professional scholar.


Among the various sorts of literary composition the drama holds the most
important position; for it is a picture of real life, and, as such, of
national interest. It consists of two principal species, tragedy and
comedy; the minor species are tragi-comedy, farce, burlesque and
melo-drama. Both tragedy and comedy attained their perfection in Greece
long before the Christian era. There it originated in the worship of

The English drama took its rise from the mysteries or sacred plays by
the medium of which the clergy in the Middle Ages endeavoured to impart
a knowledge of the Christian religion.

The Sanskrit drama is said to have been invented by the sage Bharata,
who lived at a very remote period of Indian history and was the author
of a system of music. The earliest references to the acted drama are to
be found in the _Mahabhashya_, which mentions representations of the
_Kansabadha_ and the _Balibadha_, episodes in the history of Krishna.
Indian tradition describes Bharat as having caused to be acted before
the gods a play representing the _Svayamvara_ of Lakshmi.

Tradition further makes Krishna and his cowherdesses the starting point
of the _Sangita_, a representation consisting of a mixture of song,
music, and dancing. The Gitagovinda is concerned with Krishna, and the
modern _Yatras_ generally represent scenes from the life of that deity.

From all this it seems likely that the Hindu drama was developed in
connection with the cult of Vishnu-Krishna; and that the earliest acted
representations were, therefore, like the mysteries of the Christian
Middle Ages, a kind of religious plays, in which scenes from the legends
of the gods were enacted mainly with the aid of songs and dances
supplemented with prose dialogues improvised by the performers. These
earliest forms of Hindu dramatic literature are represented by those
hymns of the _Rig-Veda_ which contain dialogues such as those of Sarama
and the Panis, Yama and Yami, Pururava and Urvaci.

The words for actor (_nata_) and play (_nataka_) are derived from the
verb _nat_, the Prakrit or vernacular form of the Sanskrit _nrit_, "to
dance." Hence scholars are of opinion that the Sanskrit drama has
developed out of dancing. The representations of dramas of early times
were attended with dancing and gesticulation. There were rude
performances without the contrivances of stage and scenic arrangements,
dancing and music forming a considerable part. The addition of dialogue
was the last step in the development, which was thus much the same in
India and Greece. This primitive stage is represented by the Bengal
_Yaêras_ and the Gitagovinda. These form the transition to the fully
developed Sanskrit play in which lyrics and dialogue are blended.

Sakuntala belongs to the mytho-pastoral class of Sanskrit plays;
Probodhchandraudya, to the metaphysical. The Hindu theatre affords
examples of the drama of domestic, as well as of heroic life; of
original invention as well as of legendary tradition.

The Hindus did not borrow their dramatic compositions from foreigners.
The nations of Europe possessed no dramatic literature before the
fourteenth or fifteenth century, at which period the Hindu drama had
passed into its decline. Mohammedan literature has ever been a stranger
to theatrical writings, and the Mussalman conquerors of India could not
have communicated what they never possessed. There is no record that
theatrical entertainments were ever naturalised amongst the ancient
Persians, Arabs, or Egyptians. With the exception of a few features in
common with the Greek and the Chinese dramas, which could not fail to
occur independently, the Hindu dramas present characteristic features in
conduct and construction which strongly evidence both original design
and national development.

Angustus William Von Schlegel observes:--

"Among the Indians, the people from whom perhaps all the cultivation of
the human race has been derived, plays were known long before they could
have experienced any foreign influence."


Sanskrit plays are full of lyrical passages describing scenes or persons
presented to view, or containing reflections suggested by the incidents
that occur. They usually consist of four-line stanzas. The prose of the
dialogue in the plays is often very commonplace, serving only as an
introduction to the lofty sentiment of the poetry that follows.

The Sanskrit drama is a mixed composition in which joy is mingled with
sorrow, in which the jester usually plays a prominent part, while the
hero and heroine are often in the depths of despair. But it never has a
sad ending. The emotions of terror, grief, or pity, with which the
audience are inspired, are therefore always tranquillised by the happy
termination of the story. Nor may any deeply tragic incident take place
in the course of the play; for death is never allowed to be represented
on the stage. Indeed, nothing considered indecorous, whether of a
serious or comic character, is allowed to be enacted in the sight or
hearing of the spectators, such as the utterance of a curse,
degradation, banishment, national calamity, biting, scratching, kissing,
eating, or sleeping.

Love, according to Hindu notions, is the subject of most of their
dramas. The hero, who is generally a king, and already the husband of a
wife or wives, is suddenly smitten with the charms of a lovely woman,
sometimes a nymph, or, as in the case of Sakuntala, the daughter of a
nymph by a mortal father. The heroine is required to be equally
impressible, and the first tender glance from the hero's eye reaches her
heart. With true feminine delicacy, however, she locks the secret of her
passion in her own breast, and by her coyness and reserve keeps her
lover for a long period in the agonies of suspense. The hero, being
reduced to a proper state of desperation, is harassed by other
difficulties. Either the celestial nature of the nymph is in the way of
their union, or he doubts the legality of the match, or he fears his own
unworthiness, or he is hampered by the angry jealousy of a previous
wife. In short, doubts, obstacles and delays make great havoc of both
hero and heroine. They give way to melancholy, indulge in amorous
rhapsodies, and become very emaciated. So far the story is decidedly
dull, and its pathos, notwithstanding the occasional grandeur and beauty
of imagery, often verges on the ridiculous. But, by way of relief, an
element of life is generally introduced in the character of the
Vidushaka, or Jester, who is the constant companion of the hero; and in
the young maidens, who are confidential friends of the heroine, and soon
become possessed of her secret. By a curious regulation, the jester is
always a Brahman, and, therefore, of a caste superior to the king
himself; yet his business is to excite mirth by being ridiculous in
person, age, and attire. He is represented as grey-haired, hump-backed,
lame and hideously ugly. In fact, he is a species of buffoon, who is
allowed full liberty of speech, being himself a universal butt. His
attempts at wit, which are rarely very successful, and his allusions to
the pleasures of the table, of which he is a confessed votary, are
absurdly contrasted with the sententious solemnity of the despairing
hero, crossed in the prosecution of his love-suit. His clumsy
interference with the intrigues of his friend, only serves to augment
his difficulties, and occasions many an awkward dilemma. On the other
hand, the shrewdness of the heroine's confidantes never seem to fail
them under the most trying circumstances; while their sly jokes and
innuendos, their love of fun, their girlish sympathy with the progress
of the love-affair, their warm affection for their friend, heighten the
interest of the plot, and contribute not a little to vary its monotony.

Indeed, if a calamitous conclusion be necessary to constitute a tragedy,
the Hindu dramas are never tragedies. They are mixed compositions, in
which joy and sorrow, happiness and misery, are woven in a mingled
web,--tragi-comic representations, in which good and evil, right and
wrong, truth and falsehood, are allowed to mingle in confusion during
the first acts of the drama. But, in the last act, harmony is always
restored, order succeeds to disorder, tranquillity to agitation; and the
mind of the spectator, no longer perplexed by the apparent ascendancy of
evil, is soothed, and purified, and made to acquiesce in the moral
lesson deducible from the plot.

In comparison with the Greek and the modern drama, Nature occupies a
much more important place in Sanskrit plays. The characters are
surrounded by Nature, with which they are in constant communion. The
mango and other trees, creepers, lotuses, and pale-red trumpet-flowers,
gazelles, flamingoes, bright-hued parrots, and Indian cuckoos, in the
midst of which they move, are often addressed by them and form an
essential part of their lives. Hence the influence of Nature on the
minds of lovers is much dwelt on. Prominent everywhere in classical
Sanskrit poetry, these elements of Nature luxuriate most of all in the

The dramas of Bhavabhuti except Malati-Madhava, and the whole herd of
the later dramatic authors, relate to the heroic traditions of the
Ramayana and the Mahabharata, or else to the history of Krishna; and the
later the pieces are, the more do they resemble the so-called
'mysteries' of the middle ages. The comedies, which, together with a
few other pieces, move in the sphere of civil life, form, of course, an
exception to this. A peculiar class of dramas are the philosophical
ones, in which abstractions and systems appear as the _dramatis
personæ_. One very special peculiarity of the Hindu drama is that women,
and persons of inferior rank, station, or caste are introduced as
speaking the _Prakrit_ or vulgarised Sanskrit, while the language of the
higher and more educated classes is the classical Sanskrit of the
present type.


According to the code of criticism laid down in works on Sanskrit drama,
it should deal principally either with the sentiment of love, or the
heroic sentiment; the other sentiments should have a subsidiary
position. There should be four or five principal characters, and the
number of acts should vary from five to ten.

There are several species of the drama,--ten principal, and eighteen
minor. Of these none has a tragic end.

Every drama opens with a prologue or, to speak more correctly, an
introduction designed to prepare the way for the entrance of the
dramatis personæ. The prologue commences with a prayer or benediction
(_Nandi_) invoking the national deity in favour of the audience.

Then generally follows a dialogue between the stage-manager and one or
two of the actors, which refers to the play and its author, mentions
past events and present circumstances elucidating the plot, and
invariably ends by adroitly introducing one of the dramatic personages,
and the real performance begins.

The play thus opened, is carried forward in scenes and acts; each scene
being marked by the entrance of one character and the exit of another.
The stage is never left vacant till the end of an act, nor does any
change of locality take place till then. The commencement of a new act
is often marked, by an introductory monologue or dialogue spoken by one
or more of the _dramatis personæ_, and is called _Viskambhaka_ or
_Praveshaka_, which alludes to events supposed to have occurred in the
interval, and the audience are prepared for national plenty and
prosperity, addressed by one of the principal personages of the drama,
to the favourite deity. The development of the plot is brought about
through five divisions called the five _sandhis_. A _sandhi_ is a
combination of incidents whereby the object is attained.


There were no special theatres in the Hindu Middle Ages, and plays seem
to have been performed in the concert-room (_Sangita-Cala_) of royal
palaces. A curtain, divided in the middle, was a necessary part of the
stage arrangement; it did not, however, separate the audience from the
stage, as in the Roman theatre, but formed the back-ground of the stage.
Behind the curtain was the tiring-room (_nepathya_), whence the actors
came on the stage. When they were intended to enter hurriedly, they
were directed to do so "with a toss of the curtain." The stage scenery
and decorations were of a very simple order, much being left to the
imagination of the spectator, as in the Shakespearian drama. Weapons,
seats, thrones, and chariots appeared on the stage; but it is highly
improbable that the latter were drawn by the living animals supposed to
be attached to them. There may have been some kind of aerial contrivance
to represent celestial chariots.


Kalidasa is the author of Sakuntala, Vikramorvasi and Malavikagnimitra.
He has been designated the Indian Shakespeare. He is reputed to have
been one of the nine ornaments (or "gems") of the Court of Vikramaditya,
king of Ujayin, whose Era, called _Samvat_, begins in 56 B.C. Stories
extant about him describe him to be the veriest fool. He rose to be a
great poet through the favour of the Goddess of Learning. Those stories
embody the public opinion that except through Divine Grace or the
Inspiration of the Muse a man cannot rise to such eminence by learning
and culture alone. His native place is Kashmir or its neighbourhood. He
had no doubt suffered from the pangs of poverty and neglect and
travelled a great deal. He professed the _Saiva_ form of worship.

His chief poems are the Raghuvansam, the Kumarasambhavam, the Meghadutam
and the Ritusanharam. It is believed that he wrote a treatise on
Astronomy and one on Sanskrit Prosody. His genius was of a versatile
nature. He was a poet, a dramatist and an astronomer. His works bespeak
the superior order of his scholarship--his acquaintance with the
important systems of philosophy, the Upanishads and the Puranas;--his
close observation of society and its intricate problems;--his delicate
appreciation of the most refined feelings, his familiarity with the
conflicting sentiments and emotions of the human heart,--and his keen
perception of and deep sympathy with the beauties of Nature. His
imagination was of a very high order and of a constructive nature. His
power of depicting all shades of character,--high and low,--from the
king to the common fisherman, is astonishing. His similes are so very
apt that they touch directly the heart and at once enlist the sympathy
of the reader. He is called the poet of the sentiment of Love as this
sentiment was his _forte_. His diction is chaste and free from
extravagance and is marked by that felicity of expression, spontaneity
and melody which have earned for him the epithet--"the favoured child of
the Muse."


Of all Sanskrit dramas, Sakuntala has acquired the greatest celebrity.
It is not in India alone that it is known and admired. Its excellence
and beauty are acknowledged by learned men in every country of the
civilised world. It was the publication of a translation of this play by
Sir William Jones, which Max Muller thinks "may fairly be considered as
the starting point of Sanskrit Philology." "The first appearance of
this beautiful specimen of dramatic art," he continues, "created, at
the time, a sensation throughout Europe, and the most rapturous praise
was bestowed upon it by men of high authority in matters of taste."


The recovery of the ring, like its loss, was a matter of pure accident
and points to the moral that the joys and sorrows of human beings depend
in most cases upon circumstances which lie beyond their control.


The play was not written at a time when Buddhism was despised, and had
already been driven out of India, but when it was still regarded with
favour, and was looked up to with reverence.


The root of all the stories of Pururavas and Urvasi were short
proverbial expressions, of which ancient dialects are so fond.
Thus--'Urvasi loves Pururavas,' meant 'the sun rises'; 'Urvasi sees
Pururavas naked,' meant 'the dawn is gone'; 'Urvasi finds Pururavas
again,' meant 'the sun is setting.'

The same ideas pervade the mythological language of Greece.


The name of Bhavabhuti stands high in Sanskrit literature. It is perhaps
the highest in eloquence of expression and sublimity of imagination.
Throughout the whole range of Sanskrit literature--from the simple
lessons of Hitopadesha to the most elaborate polish of Naishadha--from
the terse vigour of Sankaracharjya to the studied majesty of Magha--from
the harmonious grace of Kalidasa to the ornate picturesqueness of
Kadambari, there is probably no writer who can come up to Bhavabhuti in
his wonderful command of Sanskrit language and surprising fluency and
elevation of diction.

The introductions to the Viracharita and the Malati-Madhava tell us that
he belonged to Padmapura in Vidarva (Berar) and was the grandson of
Gopal Bhatta and son of Nilkantha and Jatukarni. He was descended from a
family of Brahmans surnamed Udambaras.

His wonderful memory and vast erudition soon procured for him the title
of Srikantha or Minerva-throated. He soon removed to the court of
Ujjayini, where before the celebrated Mahakala all his plays were acted.

He wrote the Viracharita, the Uttarramacharita and the Malati-Madhava.

According to Rajatarangini, Bhavabhuti was patronized by Yasovarma, king
of Kanoja. This Yasovarma was subdued by Lalitaditya, king of Kasmira,
who acquired by his conquests a paramount supremacy over a large part of


The play throws some light on the condition of women. The princesses of
Videha publicly go to the hermitage of Vishvamitra. Sita comes out with
her attendants to dissuade Rama from meeting Jamadagnya and makes a
public entry with him on his return to Ayodhya. The old queens come out
to meet their children. Yet it must not be supposed that Hindu women
enjoyed the same freedom of intercourse as their European sisters. As
now, there used to be separate apartments for women. As now, they were
not admitted to an equality with men. The princesses of Videha do not
carry on conversation with the princes of Ajodhya. Sita does not come
out to pay her respects to the seniors, but her salute is announced from
within. There is now more seclusion of Hindu women as the result of the
influence of past Mahammedan rule. The influence of British rule is now
promoting the cause of female liberty.


The mutual sorrows of Rama and Sita in their state of separation are
pleasingly and tenderly expressed. The meeting of the father and his
sons may be compared advantageously with similar scenes with which the
fictions of Europe, both poetical and dramatic, abound. The true spirit
of chivalry pervades the encounter of the two young princes with their
father. Some brilliant thoughts occur, the justice and beauty of which
are not surpassed in any literature. The comparison of Chandraketu to a
lion's cub turning to brave the thunderbolt is one of these; and another
is the illustration of the effects of education upon minds possessed or
destitute of natural gifts.


The marriage dress of high-born females described in the sixth act is
well worthy of our observation. It consisted of a corset of white silk
and a fine red upper garment, besides the usual lower dress, ornaments,
and a chaplet of flowers. It has received several modifications since
the days of Bhavabhuti.

The sacrifice of good-looking girls, alluded to in the fifth act, was
common in his time and other authors allude to it. The seventh story of
Dasakumar Charita is just like it, when a prince rescues a princess from
a similar Sanyasi and afterwards marries her.

The story of "Malati and Madhava" is one of pure invention. The manners
described are purely Hindu without any foreign admixture. The appearance
of women of rank in public, and their exemption from any personal
restraint in their own habitations, are very incompatible with the
presence of Muhammedan rulers. The licensed existence of Buddha
ascetics, their access to the great, and their employment as teachers of
science, are other peculiarities characteristic of an early date; whilst
the worship of Siva in his terrific forms, and the prevalance of the
practices of the Yoga, are indications of a similar tendency.


It must be acknowledged, that the political code from which the
stratagems of Chanakya emanate, exhibits a morality not a whit superior
to that of the Italian school; but a remarkable, and in some respects a
redeeming principle, is the inviolable and devoted fidelity which
appears as the uniform characteristic of servants, emissaries, and

The play is wholly of a political character, and represents a series of
Machiavellian stratagems, influencing public events of considerable

The Mudrarakshasa is, in sundry respects, a very unique work in Sanskrit
literature. Its plot is not a pure invention, but on the other hand, it
is not derived from the usual storehouse of legends on which Sanskrit
authors have generally drawn for their materials. It has no female among
its prominent _dramatis personæ_, and the business of the play,
accordingly, is diplomacy and politics, to the entire exclusion of love.
There is, in truth, but one female character, with one little child,
introduced into the play, and these are Chandanadasa's wife and son, who
come in at the beginning of the last act. But even their appearance
introduces no passages suggestive of tenderness or the purely domestic
virtues, but only of sacrifice--a stern sense of duty.

In the minor characters we see the principle of faithfulness to one's
lord, adhered to through good report and evil report. In the more
prominent ones, the same principle still prevails, and the course of
conduct to which it leads is certainly quite Machiavellian. And all this
is brought out in a plot put together with singular skill.

In the seventh act we have a remarkable stanza, in which the conduct of
Chandanadasa, in sacrificing his life for his friend Rakshasa, is stated
to have transcended the nobility even of the Buddhas. It seems that
this allusion to Buddhism belongs to a period long prior to the decay
and ultimate disappearance of Buddhism from India. In the time of
Hionen-Tsang--_i.e._ between 629-645 A.D.--it was, however, still far
from being decayed, though it appears to have fallen very far below the
point at which it stood in Fa-Hian's time, to have been equal in power
with Brahminism only where it was supported by powerful kings, and to
have been generally accepted as the prevailing religion of the country
only in Kashmir and the Upper Punjab, in Magadha and in Guzerat. In this
condition of things, it was still quite possible, that one not himself a
Buddhist--and Visakhadatta plainly was not one--should refer to Buddhism
in the complimentary terms we find in the passage under discussion.

The late Mr. Justice Telang observes:--"The policy of Chanakya is not
remarkable for high morality. From the most ordinary deception and
personation, up to forgery and murder, every device is resorted to that
could be of service in the achievement of the end which Chanakya had
determined for himself. There is no lack of highly objectionable and
immoral proceedings. It must be admitted that this indicates a very low
state of public morality, and the formal works on politics which exist
certainly do not disclose anything better. With reference to the
criticisms which have been based on these facts, however, there are one
or two circumstances to be taken into account. In the first place,
although this is no excuse, it may be said to be an extenuation, that
the questionable proceedings referred to are all taken in furtherance of
what is, in itself, a very proper end. Chanakya's ambition is to make
his protegé, Chandragupta firm upon his throne, and to bring back
Rakshasa to the service of the king who properly represented those old
masters of his to whom Rakshasa's loyalty still remained quite firm. If
the end could ever be regarded as justifying the means, it might be so
regarded in this case. And, secondly, it must not be forgotten, that the
games of diplomacy and politics have always been games of more or less
doubtful morality. When we hear of one great politician of modern days
declaring another to be a great statesman, because, as I believe he
expressed it, the latter lied so cleverly, we cannot say that the world
has risen to any very perceptibly higher moral plane in the times of
Metternich and Napoleon, than in those of Chanakya and Rakshasa. Nor are
suppressions of important passages in despatches for the purposes of
publication, or wars undertaken on unjustifiable and really selfish
pretexts, calculated to convince one, that even in Europe in the
nineteenth century, the transaction of political affairs has been purged
of the taint of immorality, however different, and I may even add,
comparatively innocent, may be the outward manifestations of that


Visakhadatta or Visakhadeva is the author of Mudrarakshasa. We learn
from the Introduction to the drama that Visakhadatta was the son of
Prithu and grandson of Vatesvaradatta--a Samanta or subordinate chief
Professor Wilson was inclined to think that Maharaja Prithu might be the
Chouhan Prince Prithu Rai of Ajmir; but he himself pointed out that the
Chouhan Prince was never called Maharaja; and that the name Nateswara
Datta would present a serious difficulty in the way of identifying the
poet's father with the Chouhan Prince Prithu Rai of Ajmir. It will also
appear that the author of the drama lived in a century which is prior to
the age of Prithu Rai of Ajmir by centuries. He was in all probability a
native of Northern India. The grandson of a tributary chief and the son
of a Maharaja he was well-skilled in state-craft and made a special
study of stratagems and crooked policies; in consequence of which the
bent of his mind was mainly directed to business and did not indulge in
sentiments. The effect of it is manifest in his poetry which is
business-like and vigorous, but lacks in sweetness, beauty and the
tender emotions.


The author may possibly be Pratapa Rudra Deva, sovereign of Telingana in
the beginning of the fourteenth century.


It is said to have been written for the yatra of Kumar Pala Deva, by
order of Tribhuvana Pala Deva, by the poet Subhata.


It is the composition of Kanchana Acharya, the son of Narayana, a
celebrated teacher of the _yoga_, of the race of Kapi Muni.


The drama was composed by Viswanath, the son of Trimala Deva, originally
from the banks of the Godaveri, but residing at Benares, where it was
represented at the _yatra_, or festival, of Visweswara, the form under
which Siva is particularly worshipped in that city.


This is a Prahasana or Farce, and is especially a satire upon princes
who addict themselves to idleness and sensuality, and fail to patronize
the Brahmans.

It was composed by a Pandit named Gopinath for representation at the
autumnal festival of the _Durga Puja_.


This heterogeneous composition is the work of a Pandit of Nadiya,
Vaidyanath Vachespati Bhattacharya, and was composed for the festival of
Govinda, by desire of Iswar Chandra, the Raja of Nadiya.


This comic play is a severe but grossly indelicate satire upon the
profligacy of Brahmans assuming the character of religious mendicants.
It satirizes also the encouragement given to vice by princes, the
inefficacy of ministers, and the ignorance of physicians and

It is the work of a Pandit named Jagaddisa, and was represented at the
vernal festival; but where, or when, it is not known.


Although the personages are derived from Hindu history, they are wholly
of mortal mould, and unconnected with any mystical or mythological
legend; and the incidents are not only the pure inventions of the
dramatist, but they are of an entirely domestic nature.

It is stated in the prelude to be the composition of the sovereign, Sri
Harsa Deva. A king of this name, and a great patron of learned men,
reigned over Kashmir; he was the reputed author of several works, being,
however, only the patron, the compositions bearing his name being
written by Dhavaka and other authors.


Raja Sekhar is the author of Prachanda Pandava, Biddhasalvanjika, and
Karpura Manjari.


Murari composed Anargha Raghava.


The author is Bhatta Narayana surnamed Mrigaraja or Simha, "the lion."
He is one of the five Brahmins who, with five Kayesthas, came from
Kanouj and settled in Bengal at the invitation of Adisura, the then king
of Bengal.


This play was composed by Krishnamisra. It is an allegorical play, the
_dramatis personæ_ of which consist entirely of abstract ideas, divided
into two conflicting hosts.


The play is a dramatized version of the story of Rama interspersed with
numerous purely descriptive poetic passages. It consists of fourteen
acts and on account of its great length is also called the Mahanataka,
or the great drama.

Tradition relates that it was composed by Hanuman, the monkey general,
and inscribed on rocks; but, Valmiki, the author of the Ramayana, being
afraid lest it might throw his own poem into the shade, Hanuman allowed
him to cast his verses into the sea. Thence fragments were ultimately
picked up by a merchant, and brought to King Bhoja, who directed the
poet Damodara Misra to put them together, and fill up the lacunæ; whence
the present composition originated. Whatever particle of truth there may
be in this story, the "Great Drama" seems certainly to be the production
of different hands.


Vasavadatta of Subandhu is a short romance, of which the story is this.

Kandarpaketu, a young and valiant prince, son of Chintamani king of
Kusumapura, saw in a dream a beautiful maiden of whom he became
desperately enamoured. Impressed with the belief, that a person, such as
was seen by him in his dream, had a real existence, he resolves to
travel in search of her, and departs, attended only by his confidant
Makaranda. While reposing under a tree in a forest at the foot of the
Vindhya mountains, where they halted, Makaranda overhears two birds
conversing, and from their discourse he learns that the princess
Vasavadatta, having rejected all the suitors who had been assembled by
the king her father for her to make choice of a husband, had seen
Kandarpaketu in a dream, in which she had even dreamt his name. Her
confidante, Tamalika, sent by her in search of the prince, had arrived
at the same forest, and was discovered there by Makaranda. She delivers
to the prince a letter from the princess, and conducts him to king's
palace. He obtains from the princess the avowal of her love; and her
confidante, Kalavati, reveals to the prince the violence of her passion.

The lovers depart together: but, passing through the forest, he loses
her, in the night. After long and unsuccessful search, in the course of
which he reaches the shore of the sea, the prince, grown desperate
through grief, resolves on death. But at the moment when he was about to
cast himself into the sea, he hears a voice from heaven, which promises
to him the recovery of his mistress, and indicates the means. After
some time, Kandarpaketu finds a marble statue, the precise resemblance
of Vasavadatta. It proves to be she; and she quits her marble form and
regains animation. She recounts the circumstances under which she was
transformed into stone.

Having thus fortunately recovered his beloved princess, the prince
proceeds to his city, where they pass many years in uninterrupted

       *       *       *       *       *



_Rev. George Bruce M. A. Senior Professor of English Literature, the
Scottish churches College, Calcutta and Examiner to the University of
Calcutta for the M.A. Examinations in English writes;--_

     I have looked over Babu Ramanath Dutt's Ramayana. The English is
     simple and idiomatic. The story is given in an interesting manner.
     The style & language are, I think, well-suited for Matriculation

    4 Cornwallis Square, Calcutta.}  GEORGE BRUCE M. A.
   _10 Sept.--1910_               }

       *       *       *       *       *

_Mr. Jnan Ranjan Banerjee M. A., B. L. Vice-Principal and Professor of
English Literature, Philosophy and Law, the Metropolitan Institution,
Calcutta; University Lecturer in Philosophy and Examiner to the
University of Calcutta writes:--_

     I have looked through the M. S. of _Boy's Ramayan_ by Ramanath
     Dutta and am of opinion that it is written in a very aggreable
     style. It is exactly suited to the capacity of Matriculation
     students. Its chief characteristics are a very simple style and an
     interesting manner of relating stories. I feel free to say, that
     its study will go a long way towards familiarising boys in our
     schools with simple idiomatic English.

     CALCUTTA,       }             J. R. BANERJEE.
                     }               Vice-Principal,
    _29th Aug.--1910_}           Metropolitan Institution.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Mr. C. H. Linton. M.A., Professor of English Literature, The Central
College, Calcutta & Examiner to the University of Calcutta for the
Matriculation Examinations in English; Late Professor of English
Literature, Muir Central College, Allahabad writes:--_

     I have looked carefully through the pages of the "Boy's Ramayan."
     Mr. Dutt has written his book with commendable care making it one
     eminently adapted to the needs of Matriculation students. His
     language is simple clear & idiomatic and his style of narrative
     bright and entertaining. I feel confident that boys would read such
     a book over and over again, for the mere pleasure which its perusal
     afforded them. Were I in charge of a School, I should have no
     hesitation in including so delightful a work among the text books
     in English.

    CALCUTTA           }  C. H. LINTON M. A.
                       }  Prof. of English Literature
    _Sept. 5th--1910_  }  Central College.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Rai Bahadur Rasamaya Mitra M. A. Head Master Hindu School, Calcutta,
the premier School of Bengal writes_

     "The Boy's Ramayana" by Mr R. N. Dutt and Prof. Headland is a
     well-written book. The style is simple and correct. I have every
     reason to believe that the book is very well-suited to the capacity
     of Matriculation students.

                                              RASAMAYA MITRA.
     6. 3. 11.                           Head master, Hindu School.

       *       *       *       *       *


_The Amrita Bazar Patrika in its issue of January 2, 1911 writes:--_

     "The Boy's Ramayana"--The book is the only one we know of dealing
     with the subject of Ramayana in English suitable for school boys.
     It is written in simple and idiomatic English. We recommend the
     Universities and school committees to adopt it as a text-book.

_The Indian Mirror in its issue of January 17, 1911 reviews the book

     A book, called "The Boy's Ramayana", would be a suitable text-book
     for Entrance candidates. The language is easy and naturally flowing
     and the style idiomatic and interesting.

_The Bengalee in its issue of March 4, 1911 says:--_

     The author has given the story of Valmiki's immortal Epic in
     elegant and idiomatic English and his mode of narration is highly
     interesting. We are confident that the work under notice is
     pre-eminently suited to the capacity of Matriculation students of
     Indian Universities.

End of Project Gutenberg's Tales from the Hindu Dramatists, by R. N. Dutta


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